Cornwall overtakes London as most searched location for UK movers

Cornwall has replaced London as the most searched-for place to live on the property website Rightmove, as the coronavirus pandemic sparks a new era of flexible working and lifestyle changes that have fuelled a surge of interest in relocating to rural locations.

A year on from the start of the pandemic a move to that dream home in the country appears to be uppermost in many people’s thoughts, with rural locations and coastal towns and villages at the top of the property search list.

The same trend has been seen in the commercial sector, with a shift away from traditional city centre offices. IWG, the shared office space company formerly known as Regus, said there had been a 20% surge in demand for office space in rural locations, and a 32% increase in suburban locations, compared with a year ago. City centre office location inquiries have dropped by 11%.

Cornwall is now the most searched location on Rightmove and neighbouring Devon ranked third, after London, while Dorset jumped from 20th to 10th most searched for location, according to analysis by the property website of homebuyer searches in February.

The property portal said that six of the top 10 locations that have seen the biggest increases in searches by prospective buyers are in Cornwall and Devon, with the village of Stithians near Truro top of the list, up 224% compared with February 2020. Other rural areas that have seen a dramatic increase in homebuyer interest include the Isle of Skye, Braemar in the Cairngorms national park, and locations in Norfolk and East Sussex.

“The standout 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 of a garden,” said Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove.

“The huge population of London means that traditionally it’s the most searched for location. 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 has led to a need for even bigger homes than before.”

The Rightmove research found that detached homes have been the “sweet spot”, while “garden” has been the most popular keyword on property searches over the last nine months, as people look to trade up for extra rooms, a garage or space from their neighbours.

The biggest shift in the proportion of city dwellers looking to relocate has been in London, 在哪里 52% of enquires are about moving out of the capital, 和....相比 39% a year ago.

“It has been an incredibly busy year as people rethink the types of homes they want to buy and where they want to live,” said Emma Ward, director at Groundrys Estate Agents in Cornwall. “Some are moving here to be closer to family while others are looking for a complete change in lifestyle.”