According to recent market reports published by property website Rightmove, Cornwall has replaced London as the most searched-for place to live. The coronavirus pandemic has revolutionised the workplace by creating a shift towards a digitalised work platform. Subsequently, those with permanent remote and flexible working opportunities have undergone a significant lifestyle change.
If we had conducted a survey asking people where they envisioned themselves one year on from the onset of the pandemic in 2020, it is unlikely that many would have foreseen the longevity of the pandemic. Furthermore, over a year on from the onset of the pandemic and many have been fortunate to have accumulated wealth during this period of lifestyle change. For those that have, a move to their dream home in the heart of the countryside appears to be a popularly occurring thought. With rural locations, coastal towns and villages appearing at the top of Rightmove’s property search list, it seems that Cornwall has become the new most desirable property location on the UK’s market.
Especially with the extensive obstacles in place to discourage international travel, those craving a summer vacation have set their sights to the costal county of Cornwall. Offering white sandy beaches and the call of a traditional seaside town, Cornwall was amongst the first to reach full capacity for holiday accommodations for the entirety of the summer season in 2021. Data collected from the property portal indicated a 224% increase in prospective buyers compared to the same time last year in 2020. It seems that the most popular trends have centred around the demand for countryside living, a detached country home surrounded by acres of greenery and available outdoor recreational space.
The dramatic uplift in demand for this suburban, coastal lifestyle is likely driven by the 52% of former city dwellers searching for an opportunity to relocate. Likewise, we have seen a very similar trend in the commercial sector with a divergence from traditional city centre offices to extensive remote and digitalised working platforms or have downscaled in favour of a more homely, rural office location. For instance, IWG, the shared office space company previously known as Regus, reported a 20% surge in demand for office space in countryside locations, compared to figure recorded in 2020. Rather proportionately, city centre office location inquiries have dropped by 11%. Lifestyle choices continue to drive market activity as country houses priced at £2 million and above remain the top performers with a 2.9% quarterly growth and an 8.8% annual growth, the highest figures achieved in over a decade. In addition to the demand-driven growth in this location, the purchase value on offer, which has remained 11% below its peak 2007 levels, combined with the appreciation potential act as another enticing quality.
With the continued obstacles to international travel and the inward focus of UK investors, likely as a result of the many government-incited support schemes to drive inbound investment into the country, Cornwall is set to become the ‘new London’ in terms of property value appreciation and demand.