The coronavirus lockdown that restricted people to their homes for long periods of time has led to a feeling of being ‘locked-in’ – particularly among those living in Britain’s big cities.

And as lockdown relaxes, it is the residents of the countries biggest cities that are looking for new homes in places with more green space and tranquility, like England’s South West and rural Wales. Or even just somewhere where they can afford a decent-sized garden.

Research from Barclays Mortgages suggests that nearly a third of those currently living in Birmingham and London – at 32 per cent and 30 per cent respectively – feel the biggest urge to move. 

Almost a third of those currently living in Birmingham and London want to move, according to a new report by Barclays Mortgages

Almost a third of those currently living in Birmingham and London want to move, according to a new report by Barclays Mortgages

Next on the list after Britain’s biggest two cities, is not the third largest however: Manchester is down the list at 20 per cent with Leeds taking third place at 28 per cent.

As for the reasons behind fleeing urban environments, the prime motivation is to obtain a property with outdoor space: 39 per cent said they would like to move to a home with a large garden. As any urban homebuyer will know, such properties come at a big premium in cities.

Other reasons to move after lockdown include living closer to essential services at 29 per cent, living in an area where they can exercise easily at 24 per cent, being near to relatives at 23 per cent and living somewhere with a stronger local community feel at 23 per cent.

The research claimed that the South West and Wales tick most of the ‘must-have’ boxes for those currently living in Birmingham, Nottingham, London and Manchester.

The desire to move reflects a craving to escape urban living and embrace a quieter life.

AREAS THAT CITY DWELLERS WANT TO MOVE TO
Top ten cities homeowners wish to leave post lockdownTop location(s) residents wish to move to
Birmingham (32 per cent)South-West (24 per cent) or Wales (22 per cent)
London (30 per cent)South-West (20 per cent)
Leeds (28 per cent)Scotland and South-East (19 per cent each)
Norwich (27 per cent)Wales (20 per cent)
Nottingham (25 per cent)South-west (26 per cent)
Sheffield (21 per cent)East Midlands and North East (14 per cent each)
Liverpool (21 per cent)Scotland (25 per cent)
Manchester (20 per cent)North East, South West, Wales and Yorkshire and Humber (15 per cent each)
Glasgow (20 per cent)South East (18 per cent)
Newcastle (19 per cent)Scotland (47 per cent) and Yorkshire and the Humber (33 per cent)
Source: Barclays Mortgages  

A total of 26 per cent stated a preference to be close to the seaside, while 23 per cent said they wished to live in a more rural location.

It is echoed by those living in and around the M25, with two in five homeowners in the area admitting they’d like to move further away for a better quality of life.

While the top five cities are most likely to see residents eyeing up a move, it is not restricted to these areas as 32 per cent of people across the country say they would like to move to the countryside after lockdown.

Popular locations include coastal communities in counties such as  Devon (Pictured: Salcombe)

Popular locations include coastal communities in counties such as  Devon (Pictured: Salcombe)

Only 17 per cent of those surveyed said a move to a city was in their future plans. And the younger generation is leading those bucking the countryside trend, with 34 per cent of those aged under 25 dreaming of a move to a big city. 

Dr Peter Brooks, a behavioural scientist at Barclays said: ‘Spending the last few months in lockdown has been a massive life event felt by the whole nation.

‘All this time at home has given many of us the opportunity to reflect on where we live and why we’ve chosen those areas, as well as time to consider what’s important to us and the things our current living situations lack.

‘This research indicates an aspiration for a big move and complete lifestyle change. More outside space and the benefits of being closer to friends and family are high on the ‘must have’ list for many movers. 

Almost a third of those currently living in Birmingham (pictured) feel the urge to move

Almost a third of those currently living in Birmingham (pictured) feel the urge to move

‘As working from home becomes more commonplace moving cross-country looks to be move achievable for many as there is less of a need to be within a short commute to the office. If the findings of this research are reflected in the housing market, we could well see a trend for people to leave urban areas in favour of more rural locations.’

It comes as a separate report claims that the number of people living in cities who are contacting estate agents about buying a village home rose by 126 per cent during lockdown in June and July.

This is compared to the same period last year and outperforms a 68 per cent uplift in people making enquiries to move to towns, according to property website Rightmove. 

Rightmove’s property expert Miles Shipside said: ‘The most popular village moves are still within the same region the home-hunters are currently in, as it’s likely they’ll keep their current job but may have the flexibility to commute less often and set up their working space at home.’ 

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