In July 2020, the stamp duty holiday was introduced to boost the housing market during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Zoopla the total value of sales agreed in 2020 was 26% higher than in 2019 with the average house price rising by nearly 4%. The market has witnessed a flurry of activity and this is expected to continue now the holiday has been further extended.

Whilst the potential savings from the stamp duty holiday has encouraged many to move in 2020, many will also be re-considering their options due the ever-changing daily routine and way of life this pandemic has thrust upon us. Many are now looking for larger houses with extra space, a garden and easier access to green, open space and are finding more flexibility in location as the opportunities to work from home increase. So, what are the most popular locations for people to move to? And why are they so popular? Here we look at the top 5 locations to live in the UK according to Rightmove and explain why they are so popular.  

  1. St Ives, Cornwall – Coastal
Properties by the sea have always been desirable and their popularity boomed again in 2020. According to Knight Frank estate agency, web searches for coastal properties increased 171% between March and August, as people look to change their lifestyle following lockdown. But why is life by the sea so great? Seaside living promotes an active lifestyle. Walking or running on the beach is an excellent way to keep fit. Swimming is also a brilliant way to exercise the whole body, boosting blood circulation and releasing endorphins making you feel alert, awake, and focused.  The sea air encourages respiratory health, while sun exposure is great for getting your daily dose of Vitamin D. With all these benefits and a general ‘feel good’ factor it is no wonder the seaside was voted as the happiest place to live.

  1. Skipton, Yorkshire – National Parks
Located on the south border of the Yorkshire Dales, Skipton was voted the second happiest place to live in the UK. This market town is the perfect location for nature lovers or those who want to re-connect with nature, by hiking along the numerous local footpaths or just appreciating the areas of outstanding natural beauty. Studies by the NHS and World Health Organisation have shown that exercising outdoors is a great way to clear your head and relax, having a positive impact on your mental and physical health. Further studies suggest that just being surrounded by green space such as fields and forests can help to improve your mood, reduce stress and increase your life satisfaction. The positive impacts of nature have been reflected into the property market, where people are moving out of inner-city areas to greener more rural areas. Another study by Rightmove suggests that of the people planning to move in the next 12 months, 56% said having access to nature and green spaces is hugely important when deciding on the area and home they want to live in.

  1. Leamington Spa, Warwickshire – Commuter Town
  Located a 40 minutes’ drive from the centre of Birmingham Leamington Spa was voted the 3rd happiest place to live in the UK. Other commuter hot spots such as Stratford-Upon-Avon (40 minutes to Birmingham), Harrogate (40 minutes from Leeds) and Guildford (40 minutes from London) were also featured in the top 20. Commuter towns have always been popular for those looking to starting to start a family. However, in 2020 we saw commuter towns growing in popularity across all demographics, as city living is on the decline, with more people working from home. Forbes is predicting that 70% of workers will have the option of working remotely by 2025, hence why people do not feel the need to live as close to their office. Living in the suburbs is also more affordable as you get more square footage per pound compared to inner city locations. This allows many to buy larger houses which could accommodate a home office, a playroom for the kids or a spare bedroom. There are also more properties with gardens which according to Rightmove was one the most popular features searched for on their website in 2020, along with ‘home office’.

  1. Richmond, London – Nature in Inner-City Locations
The highest ranked inner-city location was Richmond. Even though located in London it has grown in popularity in 2020. As many want easier access to green space and wildlife, those who stay in the city also have prioritised this. Richmond Park is largest Royal Park in London, famous for its fallow deer. It’s a great place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of city life or to run, walk or cycle to improve physical health. With the River Thames running through and 2500 acres of park land it is hard to believe that you are still in London. Many experts believe its popularity has grown as it’s seen as the perfect compromise between city and country living. However, this comes at cost as the average asking price is £869,864 for property according to Rightmove.

  1. Llandrindod Wells, Wales – Low House Prices and Cost of Living
In December, the UK’s average value of a property was £251,500 according to the governments house price index. The average asking price for properties located in Llandrindod Wells was only £150,962, making it the cheapest area to buy featured in Rightmove’s happiest place to live guide. Areas with lower house prices and cheaper cost of living are expected to increase in popularity following the economic uncertainty during the pandemic. While 2020 has seen house prices increase across the UK, for many it’s a great time to cash in and sell their property in order to move to a slightly cheaper area. This could free up equity, reduce mortgage repayments or allow you to buy a larger house for the same cost.  

Is now the right time to make your move?

As the country prepares to come out of the current lockdown and restrictions begin to lift, is now the right time for your next property move? Be it for business, pleasure, or simply necessity, moving home is a big step and one that Spring can help you do with ease, speed and certainty. Remove the stress of selling your home the traditional way and contact our friendly team to find how Spring’s home buying service can get your home sold in as little as 7 days, giving you the freedom to move on and start the next chapter of your life.

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