Wales’ pandemic rural home buyers may leave ‘after one cold, muddy winter’ estate agent says
Those who have bought a house in the Welsh countryside to escape the cities during the pandemic may well leave “after one cold, muddy winter” an estate agent has said.
Carol Peett, a buying agent with West Wales Property Finders, said that demand was driven by younger families moving to areas with lots of space after being stuck indoors during lockdown.
Rural parts of Wales have seen prices shoot up, with 12 local authorities making up the top 20 biggest house price rises in Wales and England, according to estate agency Hamptons, who say the rise is down to affordability. House prices in Carmarthenshire have risen 17% in the last year.
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.
Carol Peett of West Wales Property Finders said that the inflow from the cities was down to the fact that “it’s so much cheaper here than in Gloucestershire or Hampshire. Some are doctors burnt out by the pandemic”.
But speaking to the Times newspaper she said warned that “a lot of them picture a rural idyll of fluffy sheep, but I do think after one cold muddy winter here, they might be hot-footing it back into town.”
“It used to be older people retiring. Now younger families are reassessing their lives,” she said.
“Having been locked up in a London townhouse with three screaming children, they’ve all decided they wanted to buy a smallholding. Others are starting small businesses and working for themselves: producing honey, gin, boat building, upholstery.”
However, she added that it wasn’t necessarily people who were originally from outside of the areas that were moving in. “Ninety per cent of my buyers this year were born and bred here and are moving back from London or big cities,” she said.
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).”