Moving to a countryside state of mind

The past two years have had a big impact on people’s idea of home

The past two years have had a huge impact on so many aspects of our lives. Our idea of home, sense of space and what we want from our surroundings have moved even higher up the modern agenda, meaning that many people have been on the move, often to more rural locations.

We spoke to Sam Banfield from our Charlton Kings branch about who’s opting for a home that’s either in a more rural location or further out in the countryside; why people have been moving out of urban centres; and what they can expect.

“The pandemic has refocused people, they’ve reassessed and made adjustments. Cheltenham is the centre for the Cotswolds, and we’ve seen an increased number of buyers re-locating to this popular rural area.”

Who’s going rural?

Sam explains that there’s been a real variety of people at different stages of life buying properties in more rural locations: whether they’re second or third-time buyers looking for a family home for the next 20 years, or people wanting a second/holiday home. What type of job someone has plays a part, and the flexibility that exists within their role.

“Empty nesters and those in early retirement might choose to live in a rural location for a number of years, with the idea that they might move to a less isolated area later in retirement, perhaps to be closer to their support network.”

Locations that strike a balance

Cheltenham and its villages offer a good balance for buyers. It’s close to stunning countryside and open spaces, whilst also being very well-connected to major road networks: London, Bristol and Oxford are all easily accessible.

Sam mentions further factors, including education: “Take Charlton Kings, for example: a large, very popular village in a lovely location outside Cheltenham’s centre. Everything families need is on the doorstep, including a top performing secondary school, which is clearly a big consideration when people are comparing different areas.”

A big step to a new community way of life

One of the challenges of moving to the country is being a little more isolated. Peter Ball & Co covers some traditional Cotswold villages where there isn’t even a shop. It can be a tangibly different way of life for some people when they arrive in a small, close-knit community.

Sam continues: “Sometimes it means slowing down a little. I’ve spoken to people who have moved from busier urban centres, and they’ve noticed that residents are generally friendlier. It can be a slightly different way of life. The test is when people are more used to COVID-19 becoming a part of day-to-day life, and we’ll see whether some people who have moved out of the city want to go back there to live because they miss the buzz and the action.”

Dreams versus reality

Of course, many have their idyllic countryside property in their mind’s eye, perhaps a traditional, stone, ‘chocolate box’ cottage in a small village, but these old properties often require a considerable amount of work.

Sam goes into more detail: “A ‘quick’, six-month refurb project can easily turn into two years when tradespeople are in such high demand and materials are either scarce or very expensive. That’s the reality, and buyers have to be prepared for that.”

So, there’s plenty to consider when thinking of moving home to a more rural location. Some people will still need to be connected to places of education and transport links; while others will want to go all out for a more remote location, to get away from it all and experience a different pace and way of life. As ever, Peter Ball & Co is on hand to advise and pass on the benefit of our experience of working with people who’ve made the big move from the city to the country.