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Pandemic rural home buyers now fleeing back to cities say estate agents

12 Dec 2021 2 minute read
Benllech on Anglesey. Picture by Joe Hayhurst (CC BY 2.0)

People who moved from cities to rural areas during lockdown are now moving back as the promise of being able to work from home indefinitely is disappearing, estate agents have said.

According to the Times newspaper, the newest property trend is people regretting their “pandemic property purchase” and “fleeing back to the city” after making “the most expensive mistake of their lives”.

Wales was one of the prime property hotspots for those moving to rural areas, with 12 local authorities in Wales making up the top 20 biggest house price rises in Wales and England since the start of the pandemic, according to estate agency Hamptons. House prices in Carmarthenshire have risen 17% in the last year.

Now the same estate agency is saying that many are moving back after finding themselves far from friends, family and the convenience of city life.

“We are seeing buyer’s remorse among urbanistas who probably never even owned a pair of wellies, but lockdowns terrified them and they thought they had to get away because everyone else was,” Joanna Cocking, the head of prime country sales at Hamptons told the Times.

Wales overall has seen the biggest overall price rises across the UK, with annual house price inflation of 12.9 per cent, according to Halifax’s index.

The rise in house prices in Wales means that the average home is now selling for £198,880 said Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax.

“One of the key drivers of activity in the housing market over the past 18 months has been the race for space, with buyers seeking larger properties, often further from urban centres,” he said.

“Combined with temporary measures such as the cut to stamp duty, this has helped push the average property price up to an all-time high of £270,027.

“Since April 2020, the first full month of lockdown, the value of the average property has soared by £31,516 (13.2 per cent).”


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Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
11 months ago

So having come and pushed up house prices beyond a level that local wage earners can afford, they are all off again? We may well see the perfect storm of unaffordable property and lots of empty homes facing a growing homelessness problem.
Back to squatting?

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
11 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

I hope that’s sarcasm because all that money goes over the border and ends up being classed as English tax.

defaid
defaid
11 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

Compare it with the tenor of my other comments; I’m genuinely surprised you need to ask. Irony doesn’t always mean “sort of like iron”.

Incidentally, not all of it. Only that paid by companies registered in England. If tax paid by all companies trading in Wales was accounted as Welsh tax, then regardless of where that money ended up, the newly balanced books would persuade a lot of sceptics that Wales is viable as an independent country.

Last edited 11 months ago by defaid
Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
11 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Said entirely without a hint of irony of course!

defaid
defaid
11 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Lol. I did fail to keep a straight face while typing, though.

I invite anyone who thinks my original comment was sincere to check the quote from Sam Parry’s essay, in Jon Gower’s review of The Welsh Way elsewhere on N.C

Adrian wright
Adrian wright
11 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Welcome to our world

Reenie
Reenie
11 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

The important thing to keep in mind is- who sold the houses to these people who now want to leave? Sadly we have to look to our own. People wanted the money. They didn’t care for culture, community, neighbourhood or consequences of ghost villages and towns. They saw easy money and SOLD UP.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
11 months ago

Good, now f-off back to England while we deal with the mess you caused.

Pob lwc
Pob lwc
11 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

This may shock you, but there are cities in Wales as well.

Chris Thomas
Chris Thomas
10 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

Good job not everyone is like you. I work in England at a large civil service establishment where there are several Welsh people. They moved here because they couldn’t find work in their own area which paid a good wage and used their educational attainment. We don’t moan that they took well paid jobs from English people.

Don’t be a miserable twerp:-)

Sharon Elsbury
Sharon Elsbury
11 months ago

Wasn’t just in Wales. Somerset is the same. No rental properties about as they’ve all been sold.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
11 months ago
Reply to  Sharon Elsbury

Looks like this discussion needs a Neo-Con to jump in and say “There is no problem. The Market will re-adjust as the excess of houses now for sale will bring down prices.” The key question is the extent to which the housing market is smoothly operating or suffers from a built in ratchet upwards.

hdavies15
hdavies15
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Good point, good question. I don’t think there’s been a slump since late 90’s into early 2000. Prior to that we used to get “adjustments” especially if interest rates changed dramatically. Since 2008-10 governments internationally have contrived to keep interest rates at rock bottom not out of regard for the borrowing public but to enable them to access cheap money for their own spending plans. Good idea had they not wasted so much of the loot. So the silly house prices are part of the unintended consequences.

William Booth
William Booth
11 months ago
Reply to  Sharon Elsbury

Sold due to government greed – section 24 tax grab. Nothing to do with lockdown.

Ex Plaid member
Ex Plaid member
11 months ago

My parents came to Wales from Belfast in 1958 to work. I was born in Wales in the late 60’s.
Where should I go back to? I find your vision of the future disturbing on many levels.

Owain Morgan
Owain Morgan
11 months ago

Ignore him. He’s either a bit or a sad little man.

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
11 months ago

He was calling for an end to second homes purchased for only occasional use by non-locals and making them unaffordable for members of the community who wish to stay in the area. I didn’t see anything advocating the removal of people who come to this country to work and make a contribution, such as your parents.

His comment was irrelevant to the article, though, because it does not discuss second homes, but new permanent residences for people hoping to avoid Covid-19, plus the occasional white-flighter.

Last edited 11 months ago by Rhosddu
Mathew Rees
Mathew Rees
11 months ago
Reply to  Rhosddu

Except Grayham Jones is a troll who pastes the same comment over and over and over on most articles.

Current Plaid Member
Current Plaid Member
11 months ago

Agreed. My mum waa from
Cheshire and my dad brought up in New South Walea 🇦🇺. – am i allowed to stay in your idea of Cymru 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 Grayham ?

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
11 months ago

Cue Windsor Davies…

Richard
Richard
11 months ago

many of these second home owners are originally from Wales, off Welsh origin or indeed live in another part of Wales

Dean
Dean
11 months ago
Reply to  Richard

No they are not… there are very limited welsh accents in my area it’s so weird so my English accents… would love to know how many have moved to the areas of Wales. Many Londoners have come to work with me and my partner employers.

Dean
Dean
11 months ago

8 of my work colleagues sold their homes to English buyers within a few hours of bring on the market. All cash buyers paying at 10-30% over the asking price. Some I work with that have moved from London have bought several homes.

Adrian wright
Adrian wright
11 months ago
Reply to  Dean

Tell you what…all the illegal people sneaking into england should all go to wales to live .your so un grateful you welsh…poxy country anyway

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
11 months ago
Reply to  Adrian wright

Of course we’ve got to be so grateful to our our bigoted little englander masters haven’t we? And if Wales is such a poxy country why are so many of you a). so desperate to move here and b). so desperate to keep us in your so-called ‘union’? And as for your comment about the ‘illegal people sneaking into england’ (which is odd, I never knew that being a person was illegal) that says everything we need to know about you doesn’t it? Besides, racists like yourself are always whingeing that refugees should be forced to seek refugee status in… Read more »

Adrian wright
Adrian wright
11 months ago

Theres a hundred times more Welsh living in england…you can have em all back. Kick all Welsh out of england…and you can lay off our money while your at it..

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
11 months ago
Reply to  Adrian wright

Actually there are about 600,000 english people living in Wales – about 20% of the total population (give or take). There are about 600,000 Welsh people living in England – about 1% of the total population (give or take). So there are not ‘a hundred times more Welsh living in england’, get your facts straight. If Welsh people living in england made up 20% of the total population of england (so about 12 million people in all, give or take), refused point blank to speak any english at all, insisted on changing english place names to Welsh ones and tried… Read more »

Argol Fawr
Argol Fawr
11 months ago

If that’s so, then it’ll become a buyers market and there’s no sign of that. The properties being bought are 2nd homes. You don’t flee back if your not using a 2nd home for yourself. You list it on AirBnB! This estate agent and the Times are taking us for fools. Aided by Nation.Cymru.

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
11 months ago
Reply to  Argol Fawr

Yes, the estate agent’s statement does seem a somewhat optimistic take on the housing crisis in the West. There probably are instances of it, but those properties will almost certainly be out of the financial reach of local people without WG intervention in the housing market.

ROB
ROB
11 months ago

The market will adjust. If people want government to intervene then they vote for one that will. Stop blaming “the English”,”foreigners” “other people”. It’s you and how you vote.

Martin Thomas
Martin Thomas
11 months ago
Reply to  ROB

You could have a point…nah, blame them for it, I blame them for everything else.

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