Property sales this year in popular rural and seaside locations have already surpassed the number of transactions seen across the whole of 2019.
Property site Rightmove identified 16 locations where the number of sales agreed by estate agents in 2020 so far has already overtaken the total for all of 2019.
Rightmove said that, as more home-movers escape to the country, the number of sales agreed in Fair Oak, Hampshire, is already up by 27 per cent compared with sales there across the whole of 2019.
Pockets of Essex are also a popular choice for buyers, with Shenfield, Kirby Cross and Stanway experiencing double-figure sales increases compared with the whole of 2019.
George Barker, sales negotiator at White & Guard in Fair Oak, said: “The pace of the market has been quite astounding, especially since the stamp duty announcement in July as our core market is selling properties between £300,000 and £500,000 where buyers can make the biggest savings.
“As we’re only a 15-minute commute away from Southampton, buyers can live in a more rural area but have a quick commute on the days they’re going in to the office.
“A spare room has become a must-have, people are looking for either an extra reception room or an outhouse in the garden that they can convert into an office.
“I really didn’t think it would be possible to be in a position where buyers have already been found for more homes than for all of last year, but the stamp duty holiday has given the area a helping hand.”
The housing market generally is still playing catch-up in terms of sales after being shut down for some month ebcause of the coronavirus pandemic.
Transactions across the UK are generally down by six per cent in the year to date compared with the same period in 2019, Rightmove said.
Rightmove’s property expert, Miles Shipside, said: “National statistics are drawn from hundreds of local markets, with villages and market towns peppered across the country benefiting most from the post-lockdown boom in activity and a shift in buyers seeking out more serene scenery.”
In north-west England, property sales in Formby in Merseyside, known for its beach and high sand dunes, are up by 12 per cent in 2020 so far compared with the whole of 2019, the research found.
And property sales in Handforth, Cheshire, which is within reach of Manchester for commuters, are up by one per cent. In the North East of England, sales in Choppington, Northumberland, are up by three per cent this year compared with the whole of 2019.
In the South West, property transactions in Dartmouth, Devon, are now one per cent higher this year so far compared with 2019 as a whole.
However, Rightmove revealed there are no areas of London where sales numbers have overtaken 2019’s full-year figures yet.
Here are the percentage increases in sales agreed in village and town hotspots, when comparing sales agreed in 2020 up until September 6 with sales across the whole of 2019, according to Rightmove, followed by the average property asking price:
1. Fair Oak, Hampshire, 27%, £364,066
2. Formby, Merseyside, 12%, £365,913
3. Welwyn, Hertfordshire, 11%, £691,694
4. Shenfield, Essex, 11%, £766,308
5. Kirby Cross, Essex, 9%, £307,821
6. Woodbridge, Suffolk, 8%, £388,353
7. Walsall Wood, West Midlands, 7%, £204,828
8. Bearsted, Kent, 5%, £459,253
9. Stanway, Essex, 5%, £311,419
10. Biddenham, Bedfordshire, 4%, £412,806
=11. Sturminster Newton, Dorset, 3%, £327,666
=11. Choppington, Northumberland, 3%, £119,968
=11. Broomfield, Kent, 3%, £334,037
=14. Handforth, Cheshire, 1%, £291,325
=14. Southam, Warwickshire, 1%, £268,277
=14. Dartmouth, Devon, 1%, £415,785