A decade ago, homes in cities cost an average of £319,610, 5% more than rural homes, with London leading the charge. However, in 2017, countryside homes edged ahead and this trend has continued ever since, supercharged by the race for space during the Covid pandemic.
Since 2019, country property prices have risen by a quarter to reach an average of £451,290. Over that time, the values of city homes have risen 20% to £419,180. Prices of properties in towns or suburbs, which have consistently lagged the other locations, have also risen by 20% since 2019, but to an average of only £296,460.
The rural postcodes that have seen prices rise the fastest since 2019 include sought-after second-home spots and areas popular with relocating Londoners – although it should be noted that the shift to higher numbers of house sales rather than flats during the Covid frenzy has helped to inflate price growth artificially in a number of areas.
In the LA22 postcode, encompassing Ambleside in the Lake District, values have risen by 64.5% – or almost £260,000 – in only four years to an average of £658,710. Prices have also shot up in the Cotswolds. In the GL55 postcode, encompassing Chipping Campden, the average price is now £748,050, 60.4% growth since 2019.
However, the rural rush appears to be running out of steam. Prices in the country have fallen the fastest over the past year, by 3.3%, whereas city prices have declined by 2.2%. Homes in towns and suburbs have held up best, with price falls of 1.5% year-on-year. This is likely due to workers attending the office more so looking for homes with shorter commute times as well as high mortgage rates causing buyers to seek out more affordable properties.
As the housing market has cooled, the time taken to sell homes in all locations has risen this year. However, sellers of country homes have seen the most dramatic increase. The time taken between a home in the country coming onto the market and an offer being accepted has gone from an average of only 39 days in the first 10 months of 2022, the shortest time since we started recording the data, to 75 days in the same period this year.
This year, city properties regained their position as the fastest place to sell, at an average of 49 days. This is partly because first-time buyers have been more active in the market, many of whom favour more buzzy areas.
But despite more muted price growth in cities over the last few years, predominantly due to the cooling London market, these areas have outperformed longer-term. The average price of an urban home has risen 67% since 2008, with country homes lagging behind with 47% price growth. And due to the cyclical nature of the property market, we expect to see these urban areas, particularly London, begin to outperform again over the next few years.