Reassessing our lifestyles

Sat, Aug 29, 2020

The upheaval we are going through has not only impacted the ways we work, but also how we live and our future choices of where we wish to live, with a recent Guardian report showing that UK homeowners are looking to move to the countryside in droves.

This may be because lockdown has prompted us to re-evaluate what's important; whether a desire to continue working remotely or wanting a bigger space to watch the children grow up. The research found that one in six people were ready to embark on a longer commute if only going into the office a few times a week.

Bellem Cottage, Belbroughton, Worcestershire - only a 35 minute drive to Birmingham City Centre

A recent Rightmove report states that village enquiries have doubled as city dwellers escape to the country. City residents contacting estate agents to buy a home in a village rose by 126% in June and July compared to the same period last year. More home buyers currently living in some of the biggest UK cities are planning their escape to the country, according to the results of Rightmove’s latest data analysis.

City currently live in Increase - enquiries to villages Increase - enquiries to towns
Birmingham     186%     43%
Bristol                                                           131% 85%
Edinburgh        205% 86%
Glasgow             60% 55%
Liverpool            275%   63%
London      144%  79%
Manchester            79%    36%
Nottingham        137%   68%
Sheffield   81% 58%
Average               126%     68%

So, where are they escaping to?

Most of the top village destinations that people in cities are moving to are still within a commutable distance, but with the appeal of a quieter way of life.

For many the move doesn’t appear to be driven by a desire to save money as the average asking prices on the whole more expensive than the city asking price. It may be that homeowners living in these cities have benefitted from strong house price growth over the years and are now able to trade up and out to the country.

Current location  Most popular village they are enquiring about moving to
Bristol  Banwell, Somerset    
Birmingham    Marlbrook, Worcestershire 
Edinburgh  West Linton, Peeblesshire  
Glasgow    Bridge Of Weir, Renfrewshire 
Liverpool    Aughton, Lancashire      
London       Iver, Buckinghamshire  
Manchester       Charlesworth, Derbyshire 
Nottingham        East Leake, Leicestershire  
Sheffield         Whiston, South Yorkshire        


It's not hard to see why the countryside is more appealing; rural areas generally have cleaner air; life expectancy is higher and there is more opportunity to get out and exercise.

What lockdown has proved is that urban areas are not as essential for work and quality of life as many thought. Buyers are looking to move to well-connected towns and villages which have sufficient amenities to allow them to work from home more often.