Nationwide's stats showing people are moving to the countryside - is it just WFH or are people buying second homes?

Journalist: Samantha Downes, Currently at the I (business editing some Sundays (freelance) and Mortgage Solutions

ended 13. May 2022

Hi Nationwide have published some stats, showing prices are rising in rural areas, and I'm running a short piece on this trend. Is this the WFH trend or something else?

3 responses from the Newspage community

Working from home has been the best leveling-up project the regions could have hoped for. People are sick of the rat race and wasted, cramped, and sweaty commuter journeys. The technology implementation has shown us we don’t need to be sitting in dreary offices listening to Joe Bloggs in sales talking rubbish and lying about his weekend to get our work done. This will naturally inflate prices as more people swap Highbury for Harrogate. I know of a solicitor who worked for a company in Leeds, who, when covid struck, was forced to work from home. He is now earning double working for a firm in London, sitting in his home office in Bradford because it showed him he didn’t need to be present. It’s a no-brainer, and long may it continue.
As an Estate Agent selling homes in North Somerset, I see 90% of buyers fleeing city life for the more rural idyl. North Somerset provides fantastic schools and commuter links with mainline rail routes directly to London Paddington and an international airport. I recently had two buyers coming from inner Bristol to the countryside who's best and final offers smashed the ceiling price of a road mainly because they can create a better way of life for their family and still retain strong links to the closest city. I am not just experiencing Bristolian movers but also from other major cities too, including London. When did you ever think North Somerset would become commuter belt?!
During the pandemic, we certainly saw a number of clients relocating to coastal areas as they realised that they could work from home as easily from Devon as Leicestershire. However, we also saw several clients, frustrated at not being able to easily travel abroad, buying holiday properties in the UK. Consequently I suspect it's a mixture of these two factors.