Country Escapes Still Proving Popular For Househunters

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Property developers wondering where to focus their efforts in the future may want to look to the countryside and more rural areas around the UK, given new research revealing that the house buyer interest in properties in smaller communities is showing no signs of waning.

The latest figures from Rightmove show that areas with populations of under 11,000 saw the biggest rise in searches in September, while all those places where searches have been seen to double are small towns, villages and civil parishes.

The most popular place for buyer searches was found to be Lightwater in Surrey, with searches up 130 per cent last month compared to September 2019. The village itself has a population of less than 7,000, with house prices ranging for £155,000 for a studio flat to more than £3.6 million for a five-bed house.

Tim Bannister, director of property data with Rightmove, said: “It’s clear that this short-term shift has turned into a medium term trend, as our data is showing that home hunters looking at what’s available are also turning into serious buyers putting in offers.

“There are a number of likely drivers of this change, some buyers are now more willing to have a country commute a few times a week, and others are preparing for social distancing to be here for quite some time yet, and so are being drawn to places with more outdoor space.”

In terms of house prices, the most recent Hamptons International Housing Market report found that prices are predicted to rise by two per cent overall by the end of the year. But as the economic impact of the pandemic is felt, experts are now predicting that the market will stall over the next 12 months, with prices set to fall in 2021.

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