UK homebuyers escape to the country as searches for the Cotswolds double

Kalila Sangster
·3 min read
Castle Combe in Wiltshire, England in the Autumn
‘Cottagecore’ trend, made hugely popular and embraced by many during 2020, romanticised the escapism and tranquillity associated with the countryside,' according to experts. Photo: Getty

Buyer searches for homes in the Cotswolds more than doubled in the second half of 2020, as Brits looked to relocate for a quieter life in the countryside, according to new data from property website Rightmove.

Searches for homes to buy in the picturesque rural area of South West England were up by 102%, compared with the same period in 2019.

The demand for Cotswold property significantly surpassed the national average, with buyer searches across the UK rising by 50% during the same timeframe.

The number of sales agreed in the Cotswolds also outperformed the South West region as a whole, peaking in September with a 100% annual rise.

The Cotswolds also outstripped the rest of the South West for six consecutive months in terms of the annual growth in the number of sales being agreed.

Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire saw property prices increase the most in the Cotswolds in 2020, with average asking prices rising by 14.8% compared with the year before — an annual increase of £38,290 ($52,580).

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Chipping Norton was the place with the biggest annual increase in buyer searches in the Cotswolds, up by 109.5%, followed by Burford, up 82.3%, and Chipping Camden with a rise of 68.5%.

The popularity of the Cotswolds reflects a wider national trend of home-movers looking to relocate to more remote destinations in 2020.

“The widespread ‘cottagecore’ trend, made hugely popular and embraced by many during 2020, romanticised the escapism and tranquillity associated with the countryside. This idealisation of the country perfectly reflects how the pandemic has seen people re-evaluate their day-to-day lives and consequently propelled the Cotswolds’ property market into a frenzy,” said Rupert Sweeting, partner, Knight Frank country department.

People spending more time at home during lockdown due to COVID-19 has resulted in house-hunters seeking a better work-life balance and properties with access to outdoor green spaces. The shift towards remote working has also meant employees do not necessarily need to be in the same city as their company.

“The Cotswolds’ property market has been completely frantic since the market re-opened in May, with an initial abundance of stock on the market, and buyers paying premiums to achieve their dream homes,” said Sweeting.

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“In addition to the traditional reasons that have always attracted buyers to the Cotswolds, including the beautiful scenery, good schooling, and well established transport links, the pandemic has drawn attention to how the Cotswolds can also offer a dreamy countryside lifestyle, strong broadband networks, and space and gardens without compromising convenient facilities.

“After experiencing being cooped up during the multiple lockdowns with a small or no garden, city dwellers quickly realised the benefits of moving to the countryside. The abundance of well-equipped towns and villages in the Cotswolds means that these urban buyers are able to achieve their dream countryside retreat without having to completely isolate themselves.”

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