Covid has changed many aspects of our lives, and where we want to live is very much one of them. Crowded cities and daily commuting seem to have moved out of favour and there seems to be a trend towards living in more rural locations.
But, while homebuyers want to live somewhere quieter and perhaps where they can work from home, they don’t want to be completely off grid. Good local amenities, schools and transport links for occasional visits to the office are likely to be very important.
Here are nine places across England (not in any order of preference) which fit the bill here and which we’re tipping as possible Covid-inspired country property hotspots.
Beverley, East Yorkshire
Beverley is known for its impressive minster, as well as being the capital of the East Riding of Yorkshire. Beverley has a really rural location, within easy reach of the Yorkshire coast, yet is easily commutable to Hull or the industrial areas of North Lincolnshire.
For those who need to travel to the capital for work or leisure there’s even a direct train to London King’s Cross taking just over three hours.
Average Beverley house price: £280,000 approx.
Cornwall generally has been a Covid-related hotspot as buyers look to buy in what’s always been one of the most popular rural home locations. But in the rush to buy in the coastal resorts many buyers overlook the city of Truro inland.
Truro combines all the benefits of rural Cornwall but with all the amenities of a small city. Houses around here are generally cheaper than the touristy hotspots of Cornwall too.
Average Truro house price: £297,000 approx.
Salisbury has something of an idyllic semi-rural setting being close to the Downs, New Forest and south coast while having all the amenities you’d expect in a city too. For those who need to travel for work Southampton is within easy reach. It’s also convenient for those who need to travel to London sometimes – a train into London Waterloo can take as little as 1 hour 35 minutes.
Salisbury isn’t the cheapest rural property location by any means but it is attractive to new buyers as it is substantially cheaper than nearby Winchester.
Average Salisbury house price: £303,000 approx.
Durham, County Durham
Durham is known for it’s magnificent cathedral, historic city centre and its prestigious university. It’s much less known for its cheap house prices – although the cheapest prices are in the rural ex-mining areas nearby rather than the city itself.
As well as a quieter, small-city setting Durham has excellent connections by rail being located right on the East Coast main railway line. Those who need to travel to London can get there in around 3 hours, whilst Newcastle with its workplaces, shopping and nightlife is just 12 minutes.
Average County Durham house price: £190,000 approx.
The City of Lancaster has everything that big cities have – shops, bars, eateries, history and even a university – but in miniature. Alongside miniature house prices too.
Lancaster is also within easy reach of the coast at Morecambe plus the Lake District. There are also great transport links via the M6 motorway (which is almost literally on the doorstep) and the West Coast main railway line. Manchester takes just over an hour by train while London can be reached in as little as 2 hours 50 minutes.
Average Lancaster house price: £171,000 approx.
Skipton, North Yorkshire
Skipton calls itself the Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales, which may conjure up images of a sleepy rural backwater. In some ways it is – Skipton is known for its great, traditional High Street Market and as a place for Dales farmers to meet up at the regular traditional auction mart.
Skipton’s trump card however is its great train connections to the West Yorkshire cities for shopping, leisure and those who need to go into the office sometimes. Leeds takes around 40 minutes by direct train, and Bradford slightly less.
Average Skipton house price: £253,000 approx.
Worcester is a historic ancient city – it’s said that the history of Worcester is the history of England. But there’s been lots of new housebuilding round here in recent years which means property prices are very competitive.
Worcester benefits from easy access to the Cotswolds and Malverns, while being much cheaper to buy in than either. It doesn’t have great access to London but Birmingham and the rest of the West Midlands is accessible in around 45 minutes for those who need to travel to work.
Average Worcester house price: £241,000 approx.
Eastbourne, East Sussex
Covid has not only caused buyers to become more interested in the country, it has caused more interest in the coast too. Eastbourne fits the bill as offering a bracing seaside setting yet it isn’t that isolated from London and the busy towns of the south east.
It’s fair to say that Eastbourne isn’t anything like as smart and stylish as the established coastal hotspot of Brighton nearby. But that’s also Eastbourne’s attraction – it’s still very up and coming and much cheaper than Brighton.
Average Eastbourne house price: £290,000 approx.
Lincolnshire has a reputation for being rural, flat and a little bit boring, but that’s certainly not true when it comes to Lincoln. Lincoln is a charming and historic city (and it’s definitely not flat!) with great amenities and a buzzing social scene thanks to its university.
Lincoln isn’t the most accessible city but it is within convenient reach of Nottingham by train or car taking less than an hour, while there are also trains to London King’s Cross.
Average Lincoln house price: £235,000 approx.
Average house prices according to Zoopla asking prices, March 2021.