The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a property boom in the country. From Yorkshire to Devon, here's the market lowdown on where people are moving.

Ryedale in North Yorkshire is England’s most popular rural property hotspot with sales having soared 63% in the past six months.

Our latest data shows that the coronavirus pandemic has seen buyers flocking from London and other cities in England to the countryside, perhaps in pursuit of a different way of life. 

The growth in flexible working, coupled with a need for more space at home thanks to Covid-19 restrictions has led to a considerable shift in homehunters’ priorities, with many choosing green and pleasant lands over urban living.

After Ryedale, the most popular countryside locations for buyers are Herefordshire (famous for its cider and fruit production) which has seen a 46% jump in sales, and Sevenoaks in Kent (known as the garden of England) which has seen sales rise 44%.

High Peak in Derbyshire, The Cotswolds and North Devon have all also seen sales increase by more than 30%. While Breckland in Norfolk, Malvern Hills, the Isle of Wight and Horsham in Sussex complete the rural hotspots identified by our data. 

The market lowdown on the top 10 rural hotspots 

1. Ryedale in North Yorkshire

Ryedale need-to-know: Ryedale encompasses the North York Moors National Park, as well as a number of market towns, such as Malton and Pickering, and picturesque villages. The region is home to Castle Howard, made famous in film and television adaptations of Brideshead Revisited, and York and Harrogate are within easy reach, as are the coastal towns of Scarborough and Whitby.

Average price of a three-bedroom semi-detached home: £213,000

Difference when compared with average price of a similar property in the nearest city, Leeds: £4,000, or 2%

What’s for sale?

This traditional stone and pantile cottage built in around 1908, located in Pickering at the foot of the North York Moors National Park, is on the market for £230,000.

2. Herefordshire in the West Midlands

Herefordshire need-to-know: Herefordshire is home to the cathedral city of Hereford, as well as the market towns of Leominster, Ledbury and Ross-on-Wye. The county boasts a number of attractions including rolling countryside, fruit orchards and country pubs serving its famous cider. It is a historic place, home to Neolithic burial sites with links to the legend of King Arthur. 

Average price of a three-bedroom semi-detached home: £219,000

Difference when compared with average price of a similar property in the nearest city, Birmingham: £4,000, or 2%

What’s for sale?

This characterful three-bedroom period townhouse, located on a desirable street in Ross-on-Wye, has beautiful views of the River Wye. It is on the market for £215,000.

3. Sevenoaks in Kent

Sevenoaks need-to-know: Situated on the edge of the High Weald and the North Downs of Kent, Sevenoaks is just 25-minutes away from London Bridge by train, making it a popular base for commuters. Sevenoaks is packed with traditional Kentish architecture, historic parks and gardens and has excellent schools. It is also well connected by road, with the M25 just a 10-minute drive away.

Average price of a three-bedroom semi-detached home: £428,000

Difference when compared with average price of a similar property in the nearest city, London: -£110,000, or -20%

What’s for sale?

This grade II listed family home is on the market for £420,000. It retains many original features, includes exposed beams, brick fireplaces and even a cellar.

4. High Peak in Derbyshire

High Peak need-to-know: High Peak sits between Manchester and Sheffield and includes the spa town of Buxton and the market town of Glossop. The district is dominated by the Peak District National Park, offering a wealth of outdoor activities and pretty stone villages.

Average price of a three-bedroom semi-detached home: £229,000

Difference when compared with average price of a similar property in the nearest city, Sheffield: £54,000, or 31%

What’s for sale?

This modern three-bedroom mews house in Chapel-En-Le-Frith is on the market for £200,000. It offers views of the Kinder Scout moorland plateau, the highest point in the Peak District.

5. The Cotswolds in Gloucestershire

Cotswolds need-to-know: The Cotswolds are home to a number of picture-perfect villages and towns, such as Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow-on-the-Wold and Morten-in-Marsh, with more than 80% of the district located in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Its largest town is Cirencester, but it is within easy reach of Cheltenham and Gloucester, with the M4 to the south and M5 to the west.

Average price of a three-bedroom semi-detached home: £365,500

Difference when compared with average price of a similar property in the nearest city, Bristol: £61,500, or 20%

What’s for sale? 

This modern three-bedroom stone cottage is located on a quiet lane in the village of Little Rissington. It has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, as well as a conservatory.

6. North Devon in Devonshire

North Devon need-to-know: Home to dramatic cliffs and sandy beaches, the biggest town in North Devon is Barnstaple, with the seaside (and surfing) resorts of Ilfracombe and Woolacombe also drawing summer holiday makers every year. The M5 is to the east of the district and the Exmoor National Park offers stunning views.

Average price of a three-bedroom semi-detached home: £248,000

Difference when compared with average price of a similar property in the nearest city, Exeter: -£39,000, or -14%

What’s for sale? 

This three-bedroom Victorian family home has period features, an open fireplace and stunning countryside views.

7. Breckland in Norfolk

Breckland need-to-know: The district of Breckland spans the five pretty Norfolk market towns of Attleborough, Dereham, Swaffham, Thetford and Watton and numerous villages. Situated within easy distance by car of Norwich, it includes, fens, woodland, heaths and farmland and is one of the largest rural districts in England.

Average price of a three-bedroom semi-detached home: £218,000

Difference when compared with average price of a similar property in the nearest city, Norwich: -£18,000, or -8%

What’s for sale? 

This modern three-bedroom property in Dereham is on the market for £235,000. Split over three floor it offers two bathrooms and a modern kitchen.

8. Malvern Hills in Worcestershire

Malvern Hills need-to-know: Home to the spa town of Malvern, the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire includes the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Adjacent to the cathedral city of Worcester, the Hills are easily accessible via the M5 and M50 motorways.

Average price of a three-bedroom semi-detached home: £245,000

Difference when compared with average price of a similar property in the nearest city, Birmingham: £30,000, or 14%

What’s for sale? 

This three-bedroom grade II listed cottage is on the market in Malvern for £250,000.

9. Isle of Wight off the South coast

Isle of Wight need-to-know: This island situated off the South coast of England is famous for its multi-coloured sandy beaches, chalk cliffs and rolling countryside. The Isle of Wight is accessible to the mainland by hovercraft and ferry and is a popular destination for water sports, walks and other outdoor pursuits.

Average price of a three-bedroom semi-detached home: £232,000

Difference when compared with average price of a similar property in the nearest city, Portsmouth: -£60,000, or -21%

What’s for sale?

This modern townhouse is split over three floors, offering three-bedrooms and two bathrooms. It is on the market for £250,000.

10. Horsham in West Sussex

Horsham need-to-know: Horsham is a market town on the edge of the Weald in West Sussex. It is around an hour away from London by train and 35 minutes south of the M25 by car and is well known for its wealth of medieval buildings and heritage sites.

Average price of a three-bedroom semi-detached home: £405,000

Difference when compared with average price of a similar property in the nearest city, Brighton: -£19,000, or -5%

What’s for sale? 

This three-bedroom semi-detached cottage is within walking distance of Horsham Station. It contains a number of period features, including an open fireplace and stripped wood doors. It is listed for £400,000.

Pandemic property trends

Our research shows half of homehunters have changed their priorities since the start of the first coronavirus lockdown in March.

Gráinne Gilmore, our head of research, said: “Some households have taken the chance during lockdown to reassess where and how they want to live

“Most demand for housing within cities remains within those cities, but we are seeing a cohort of buyers choosing to buy in more rural locations, which can offer a different style of living, especially for those who have increased levels of flexibility around working from home.”

The rural premium

While it is often assumed that rural property markets offer better value for money than urban ones, buyers in half of the top 10 hotspots are actually paying a premium to live in the countryside.

The Cotswolds commands the highest premium, with a buyer purchasing a three-bedroom semi-detached house in the area paying an average of £61,500 (or 20%) more than if they bought a comparable property in the nearest city, Bristol.

At the other end of the spectrum, Sevenoaks offers the best value to people wanting to flee city life, with a typical three-bedroom home costing £110,000 less than it would in nearby London.

To find homes for sale in these hotspots, or other locations, use our tools or register with Zoopla to get instant alerts for exactly the type of property you want.

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The information and data in this article was correct at the time of publishing and every attempt is made to ensure its accuracy. However, it may now be out of date or superseded. Zoopla Ltd and its group companies make no representation or warranty of any kind regarding the content of this article and accept no responsibility or liability for any decisions made by the reader based on the information and/or data shown here.
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