Tight fit in the country for city folk

London skyline

Moving from the city to a better life in the country has become something of a tradition since property values began to recover from the financial crisis of 2008.

These days, those fleeing London and other cities to escape the rat race can expect to sell their city property for just under £500,000, on average. However, the amount of extra space that money would buy in the country has reduced every year for the last five years. In 2020, their money would buy them an extra 633 sq ft of space in the country. In 2013 that figure would have been 1,038 sq ft.

The pandemic has dramatically increased the number of people seeking the opportunity of a larger home, with more access to outdoor space and a better life for the family, as more and more of us are now able to work flexibly from home.

However, these freedoms have come at a cost. Countryside house prices have increased 3.7% over the three months to June 2021 – more than they have in any quarter over the last 15 years. Even as city-dwellers are getting less value for money, they are pushing up house prices in rural communities, making home ownership less affordable for those with historic and family ties to rural areas.

Properties in areas within commuting distance of London are most desirable, including the likes of the Cotswolds, Rutland and West Sussex. In these areas, a property that used to sell for £1.5 million might now reach a sale price of more than £2.5 million. However, property price growth in this sector is expected to slow down over the next two years as living and working in the country become even more desirable.