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Surge in online searches for properties in remote or coastal areas during lockdown

Online searches for properties in remote or coastal locations has increased sharply, according to Rightmove. 

The property website analysed the areas people were looking for homes on its website last month and found that Inverness recorded the biggest increase in searches. 

Shetland Isles, Sandbanks, St. Davids, Haverfordwest, and South Devon are among the most popular hotspots for people viewing properties for sale online. 


The top ten list of the biggest uplifts in buyer searches in April compared to a year ago reveals a desire by home-hunters to find a more remote and scenic location to live. 

Rightmove’s housing market analyst Miles Shipside said: “People often use Rightmove to daydream, so it’s not surprising to see some of the search areas on the up being the most expensive in the UK.

“The beautiful areas in the far north in the list are likely a mixture of people dreaming of living somewhere more remote, and those seriously thinking about changing their lifestyle after lockdown.

“Locations in Scotland feature three times in the list, and with property prices comparatively affordable compared to others in the top ten, it’s highly likely that properties in these areas will find buyers more quickly when restrictions are eased. As well as the UK public expressing their passion for property, there seems to be a growing desire to find a quiet place to live.”

Top ten biggest increases in searches on Rightmove, April 2020 versus April 2019


Year-on-year increase in searches

Average asking price




Shetland Isles






St. Davids, Haverfordwest



South Devon



Marston Moretaine



















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  • Mark Wilson

    This is living proof data that people sit at home dreaming of what if. I am one of them. Will it lead to sales, of course a few, but far less that than the headline.

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    'People looking for homes on their websites'? Don't think so. Sandbanks is such a tiny, exclusive and ridiculously expensive area, that virtually all the people searching were just dreaming, not seriously looking. Same with Belgravia ands some others, no doubt. Wrong interpretation to those searches, so the headline is - I'm afraid - fake news.

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    • 08 May 2020 10:54 AM

    Those who are able to work remotely will definitely be calling into question living near expensive cities.
    If not having to commute on a daily basis it makes eminent sense to move out of expensive cities to far better and cheaper properties are far better surroubdings.
    I would imagine that many remote workers will only need to come into an office setting once per month.
    I predict a mass exodus of city workers to the countryside which will give a massive economic boost to rural areas.
    Of course this means a massive reduction in workers required for the hospitality industry.
    That means far fewer immigrants are needed so they can return home.
    I reckon if still possible to reach Central London in say 1.45 hrs that gets you to most coastal areas.
    There will be massive 'white flight' once it is realised diverse areas can be left for the diverse.
    The whites can move out to a far better quality of life where diversity is not common.
    Keep the diverse in the cities.

    I predict a massive demand for houses in the Country where city dwellers bring their property profits to the countryside.
    So consider a ring 1.45 hrs from London with effective train connections and that is where to invest.
    All those who invested loads near CrossRail......................doh!!
    Not needed now.
    People can move further away.
    1.45 hrs travelling time easily gets you to Margate in the South.
    Remote workers will transform property demand.

    I've had carious dealings over the phone.
    All of the staff have been working from home.
    I noticed no difference in the service provided.
    All you need is a dining room table and a laptop.
    You don't need expensive London offices
    This CV19 issue will be a blessing in disguise.
    It will transform where people consider they need to live for work purposes.
    So far from just daydreaming browsing this is very serious property searching.
    People will wish to move out of cities before everyone has the same idea and prices shoot up in the well connected to London country properties.


    Yes agreed Paul, just done my tax return, accountant working from home, renewed my property insurance, broker working from home, Letting agent also working from home, no problems at all, many will carry on working from home, what's not to like, less office space, less people traveling to and from work, another nail in the coffin for the high street


    City livers will just destroy the countryside as fast as they move there and create new towns. I was borne and raised in the poor countryside and have seen the changes. It is no place for a family unless you have family there or intend to endlessly car you children around (no buses).

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    Regarding Paul Barrett's interesting contribution above, there was an article in yesterday's times analysing the advantages and disadvantages for a company of its staff working remotely at home instead of coming into the office. A mixed blessing for the company, it concluded. Pros and cons. Worth reading. (Great for cutting the crowding in public transport, though!) I suspect most people won't move to the country for this reason. It's such a major change. (Isn't the country - however nice in the summer - really boring in the depths of winter?)


    I like the countryside all year round, winter included, but doesn't suit all.

    • 11 May 2020 14:03 PM

    Granted what you suggest is valid.
    Of course WFH is NOT a panacea for many businesses.
    But from the perspective of business resilience which means essentially the ability to continue to make money any business would be wise to take business resilience measures.
    For many businesses this means ensuring that WFH at the drop of a hat is possible and to also encourage WFH.

    Of course there are disadvantages in WFH but it must be surely worthwhile facilitating the ability to do so.

    I believe that there will be hybrid business solutions where there will be a combination of office and WFH working.

    I believe these inevitable changed business practices will much reduce the requirement for expensive City centre offices.

    It makes sense to move from cities to the regions where real estate is far cheaper.

    I believe many businesses will review how they conduct business in future.
    Business will not wish to be in a situation where it cannot continue because it's workers are locked down at home.
    It makes pragmatic business sense to have alternative strategies in place in the event of anther lock down situation.

    It should also be for LL to consider their business practices.
    Essentially this means ensuring their business is resilient to mass tenant rent defaulting etc.

    Inevitably this must means LL selling up and reducing their exposure to rent defaulting tenants.
    It would be no bad thing if the numbers of mortgaged LL substantially reduced.
    It is clear an unencumbered LL is far more resilient than an encumbered one.

    The business model of gearing up and hoping there will be a tenant to service the costs is now a busted business model.
    There will be another CV19 as long as air travel continues.
    A disease can reach any part of the world from a Chinese wet market in 24 hrs.
    Only by enforcing strict quarantine for all visitors will there be the ability for preventing diseases from entering a country.
    Unfortunately there are few borders that are resilient enough to prevent illegal entry.
    So the world will remain vulnerable to such pandemic diseases.

    Business must therefore make itself resilient or not bother being in business.
    That is my intent to not remain in business.

    I simply don't have the resilience to sustain multiple rent defaulting tenants.
    Consequently I have little alternative than to revise my business methodologies.

    Essentially this means reducing my exposure to rent defaulting tenants.
    I can only do this by reducing my exposure to mortgages.
    This must mean for me selling various properties to reduce or eliminate leverage.
    Only as a very lightly encumbered or unencumbered LL might I stand a chance of surviving the next pandemic crisis.

    The fact that my actions will result in homeless occupants is of no concern to me.
    I am not the slightest bit interested in housing people.
    Making money is my only imperative.
    If this means I can guarantee only doing so by reducing property numbers and remaining leverage on remaining properties then that is what I will need to do.
    I simply cannot risk being exposed to bankruptcy because of rent defaulting tenants.
    My penchant for risk only goes so far.
    I always knee there was a great risk of rent defaulting.
    I never really appreciated how exposed I was until this CV19 lock down process occurred.
    I do NOT intend to remain so similarly exposed.
    Ultimately if this means I leave the PRS in entirety then so be it.
    I really don't see the point in risking bankruptcy because of rent defaulting tenants.
    At least if I had say one unencumbered property I would be resilient to rent defaulting tenants.
    I'm sure that many other LL will be considering such options for the future.
    Personal domestic financial security is my main concern.
    Risking that due to rent defaulting tenants is not something I wish to continue risking anymore.
    I surely cannot and will not be the only leveraged LL that will have similar concerns.
    The PTB are doing everything they can to ensure it is the small LL that carries the can for rent defaulting tenants.
    Personally I am not prepared to carry that can anymore.
    So will take steps to manage the situation.


    Only towns' people find the countryside boring in winter.

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    I would personally hate to live in a city.
    Here in rural Monmouthshire, I am 5 minutes from the M4 and equidistant to Bristol and Cardiff.
    I don't need anything else, as I have my beautiful Welsh farmhouse and barn, all set in 40 acres of prime agricultural land.

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    Can anyone answer my question please.
    We own a property currently vacant as we purchased recently and were in the process of decorating etc when the restrictions were introduced.
    Can we travel (6 miles distance) to check our empty property on a regular basis.
    Or can we travel to our empty property and carry on with decorating etc (no one else involved) during these times.
    Can anyone please advise.
    Thank you.


    I have been travelling to work on an empty property for the last two months, without any problem.
    Obviously, you can't do this from home, so I would class this as working, which you are allowed to do under the regulations.

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    I would have thought so as its empty and I take it you are being charged Full Council Tax?
    Get it ready for somebody to Move In asap.

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    I mean more from the Covid19 restrictions angle?
    Is it allowed for us to travel to our property to work and check on it at this time?


    I would say you can definitely now do so but I would still have done so anyway last week. The problem is that most people can't understand shades of grey and black and white is too blunt an instrument in many cases.

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    Travel to and from work is allowed so long as work cannot be done from home, I have been traveling a 30 mile round trip to and from Norwich painting, renovating and up dating 2 empty properties since Easter and fully intend to carry on doing so.


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