No one is pretending that the property market is back in full bloom but, equally, no one can deny that there are green shoots of recovery.
And one of the growing demands is the wish to get away from it all. So, where to find such a haven?
Rural West Wales is one possibility. ‘I have been inundated with enquiries from people wanting to move here from London since the early days of the pandemic and I think they will return as buyers when everything’s back to normal,’ says Carol Peett of West Wales Property Finders.
‘People love our fresh air, fishing and coastal walks: it’s ideal if you want a healthy lifestyle.’
In the sticks: This seven-bedroom home in rural Wales is priced at £550,000 with Fine & Country
Trehowel Fach in North Pembrokeshire would fit the bill for a family wanting to escape the rat race.
It is remote — four miles from Crymych, a town of 800 residents. It also offers a chance to be self-sufficient, to a degree — its 19 acres of land are enough to keep a small flock of sheep, pigs, goats and a dairy cow.
The internet means freelancing from home to supplement earnings is a possibility.
The main house has five bedrooms and two receptions, including a study for home working and a library with its own cast iron staircase leading to the first floor.
The property, for sale with FBM for £595,000, also has a one-bedroom annexe with a lounge, kitchen and bathroom.
But what is it like to live so far from neighbours? Elizabeth Blair, 56, a serial ‘doer upper’ of old properties, opted for life in the slow lane in 2008 when she bought two rundown old cottages in the middle of Exmoor and transformed them, with the help of her four children, into a swish five-bedroom country house.
The house is a third of a mile down a rough track from the country road and a 20 minute drive to the nearest small town of Bampton.
‘I never feel cut off from others, it’s more a sense of the fields and the wildlife cushioning me from the wider world,’ says Elizabeth, who has also restored her 111 acres of neglected farmland along organic lines.
‘Living here has been a chance to live more simply and re-evaluate what’s important in life’.
Elizabeth’s country house and grounds is for sale with Strutt & Parker for £1.6million.
When moving to the wilds of the countryside many think that a rustic interior of wooden beams and open fireplaces is a must.
Others prefer a more contemporary look. Greenlee Farm and Cottage, situated down several miles of rough tracks 15 miles from Hexham in Northumberland, has a plain exterior, but inside it is all tasteful minimalism.
Recently sold with a two-bedroom detached cottage for £525,000 with Finest Properties the house lends itself to multi-generational living and its ‘extras’ include a gym, home office and games room.
The property may be ‘showhouse-ready’ inside, but nature is close by, with uninterrupted views of some of the finest stretches of Hadrian’s Wall, including the renowned Sycamore Gap and Greenlee Lough National Nature Reserve.
The enforced social distancing we are living through will undoubtedly lead to loneliness.
Lonely people have higher blood pressure, are more vulnerable to infection and are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Loneliness also interferes with a whole range of everyday functions: disturbing sleep patterns and interfering with our ability to concentrate and think logically.
It follows that many people will be looking for a form of spiritual rehabilitation when this dreaded pandemic has passed.
Business consultant Michael Brown believes living on Dartmoor brings peace of mind. He is selling his Grade II-listed thatched, Waye Cottage, on the moor outside the small town of Chagford with Fowlers Properties for £750,000.
This house is all period features, with its low beams, granite fireplace, wood burner and bread oven.
In the dining room, there is a fine example of a Jacobean muntin screen and behind a door there is a hidden medieval turret stone staircase. Outside there is a courtyard and beyond that there is the wild open expanse of ‘the moor’.
‘It’s a wonderful thing to be able to simply walk out onto Dartmoor,’ says Brown, 61. ‘It means you have a 360- degree view, completely unspoilt by man.
‘It’s even better at night when the skies are clear. The simple absence of humanity and the silence of the night is unbelievably therapeutic.’