Britons Drawn to Country Life in Wake of Virus, Guardian Says

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Clarity on when the U.K. lockdown will end remains elusive, but that hasn’t stopped many Britons from planning to relocate to their favorite parts of the countryside once it’s all over, the Guardian reported.

With working from home expected to continue to some extent after the pandemic ends, there has been a surge in the number of new home registrations in villages and market towns around the country’s major cities as people reassess their life’s priorities in the wake of Covid-19, real estate agents said, according to the newspaper.

Locations seeing a rise in buyer registrations include the areas in and around Winchester in Hampshire, Newbury in Berkshire, Canford Cliffs in Dorset and the East Neuk of Fife on the east coast of Scotland, agent Savills said. Inverness in the Scottish Highlands saw the biggest year-on-year increase in searches of 167% in the latest Rightmove data for April, followed by Shetland.

This planned exodus comes at a time when the U.K. housing market has been put on ice during the pandemic as the government discourages viewings and transactions. Lenders have been pulling higher loan-to-value mortgage products to protect themselves in case prices fall substantially as the economy shrinks and unemployment rises.

U.K. house prices may drop 16% because of the economic upheaval caused by the coronavirus, the Bank of England said this week.

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