Intensified by the pressures of lockdown, you may have been forced to confront your dinky home and dreamt of a country escape. But before you do anything, there's a few things you might want to consider.
Across the UK, potential buyers have certainly turned their attention to the countryside and since lockdown, online searches for homes in rural and coastal locations have skyrocketed. According to data from Zoopla, searches for homes in rural locations were up 68% in the first week of May, compared to the first week of March 2020.
Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show 86% of people are working from home. With this time away from an office environment, many people are realising they can do their work with Wi-Fi and good phone signal. They’re also realising their dinky city centre apartment has lost a little of its charm.
If one of your guilty pleasures in lockdown has been snuggling in an arm chair with a copy of Country Living magazine, pouring over pretty chocolate box cottages and romanticising about country life, there are some things to consider before you turn your rural dreams into a reality.
In the country, you're likely to have more space. Space is at a premium in the city, which is not the case in the countryside and you might be able to build on your home. Depending on where you live, you may also be lucky enough to get a view - mountain views, lake views or ocean views could be outside your door.
Although buying a bigger home with ample space can be a massive advantage of moving to the country, have you considered the increased running costs? You also have to maintain and furnish all of these new rooms, which is additional costing you may not have factored in.
Have you thought about transport?
According to Zoopla, the most searched-for rural area in recent weeks has been Monmouthshire in Wales. It’s up 135.5%, and is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. One factor you need to consider when moving out to an area like this is transport – you won’t be able to just hop on the tram. Living in the country means you may have to budget for at least one, and more likely, two cars.
Nature on your doorstep
If you're an outdoor aficionado you may be attracted to country living because of it's easy access to hiking, climbing, bike riding, camping and fishing. The country offers just about anything outdoorsy you can think of without travelling elsewhere. You could be on a nature trail as soon as you step outside your front door.
As well as boasting a picturesque landscape, country living provides peace and refuge for it's residents and not only are rural places quieter, they are also known for being safer, with less crime, pollution and traffic. What's not to like about that?
Schools in the local area
Consider schools before making the decision to move, or you could find yourself moving all over again. Remember children also have the tendency to grow, so you’ll need to think about secondary schools and colleges too. Can your children walk to school? Is there a school bus, if you don’t want to do the dreaded school run every day? These are some things to consider.
Work and the daily commute
Are you going to switch jobs to work in the countryside? You might want to check what sorts of jobs there are in the area. If you're happy to have a slightly longer commute each morning and afternoon - a country move may be worth it.
There’s no doubt that searches for homes by the coast and in the countryside are up to record highs and you might also be considering it. But remember, there are some factors you might want to think about before making a move.
It's clear that rural living offers a more relaxed pace of life, and a change to country living could be rewarding for you and your family. It's always worth paying a visit to an area you’re considering moving to, so you can get a much better feel for what living rurally might be like.