We’re craving space and sea (Picture: Getty)
One year on from the first Covid-19 restrictions, a lot has changed.
That includes where we want to live.
Once upon a pre-pandemic, London was the most popular place for prospective homebuyers to search for properties.
Now, Cornwall has knocked the capital city off the top spot, showing that we’re craving space and sea.
Dorset has also jumped up from position 20 on the list to position 10, just to hammer home that switch in what we’re after.
Rightmove reports that in February 2021, there were more than five million searches for houses in Cornwall, while the list of other top spots reveals a drive to move to the countryside and coastal towns.
Six of the top ten places seeing buyer searches increase are in Cornwall and Devon, with searches for the village of Stithians in Cornwall up by a massive 224% on this time last year.
The most searched for locations in 2020 vs 2021:
Top locations for property searches in 2020:
Top locations for property searches in 2021:
And when looking at the second half of 2020, annual sales agreed grew by 69% in rural areas, compared to 49% in urban areas as more people looked to escape to the country.
Londoners are clearly keen to leave the city, too, as while this time last year 39% of Londoners were enquiring about homes outside of London, that number has now jumped to 52%.
Why? It’s down to a mix of factors, including wanting larger homes and more space, craving closeness to natural spaces, and remote-working reducing the need to live in central London.
Devon has risen ten places on the list (Picture: Getty)
That desire for more space can be seen in the types of homes people are searching for, too.
Sellers of five bed detached homes have seen the biggest growth in the market, with sales agreed for this type of property up 38%, compared to 8% for all homes.
Prospective buyers looking for a garden have hit a record and the term garage has been the most popular keyword used by home-hunters.
Even in the renting world, bigger is better – the two-bed semi-detached house has replaced the two-bed flat as the top search.
Rightmove’s Director of Property Data Tim Bannister said: ‘The stand-out trends over the past year have been increased demand for countryside and coastal living, more people making the dream of a detached home a reality, and the increased appeal for a garden.
‘The huge population of London means that traditionally it’s the most searched for location on Rightmove, but the appeal of the coast and the countryside over the past year has seen Cornwall crowned the new capital this year.
Londoners are ditching the city (Picture: Getty)
‘More space has always been the most common reason for people moving home, but the evolution for many from balancing their laptop on the end of a bed last March to making an office a permanent addition to a home, whether that’s by converting a bedroom, garage or garden shed, has led to a need for even bigger homes than before.
‘This is evident with five bed detached homes seeing the biggest growth in sales, and two bed homes becoming the most sought after for people renting.’
Emma Ward, Director at Goundrys Estate Agents in Cornwall added: ‘It’s been an incredibly busy year as people rethink the types of homes they want to buy and where they want to live.
‘Some are moving here to be closer to family while others are looking for a complete change in lifestyle. Detached homes, which are around the £500k-£700k mark here, have been flying off the shelves, we’ve none left!
‘We need more sellers to come to market as there is such strong buyer demand for places with garages, gardens, office space and more.’
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