Demand for houses in North Somerset Villages Building

August 6, 2020

Houses in North Somerset are in demand as Bristol estate agents report a rise in new instructions as city dwellers look to move to a rural lifestyle. Villages such as Banwell, Congresbury, Winscombe and Churchill are on the radar as opportunities to work from home are increasing. Indeed, the surge in interest in village life has been felt nationwide, says the BBC. Across the UK enquiries for buying a home in a village jumped by 126% in June and July compared to last year.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Money not the prime mover

A report by Rightmove claims that money does not appear to be the main motivator for moving. Urban home owners have benefitted from strong house price growth over the years making it possible for those owners to trade up to larger homes out in the country. And almost a third (30%) are considering moving to a rural area such as North Somerset. 

Searches show that house hunters in Bristol are looking at villages within commuting distance to the city, with houses in North Somerset of particular interest. Rail-linked villages such as Nailsea, Yatton and Worle are featuring as easy commuting becomes a priority.

Houses in the South West desired

A survey for Barclays Mortgages found that the South West of England is on the radar for people living in Birmingham, Nottingham, London and Manchester. Drawn by the South West’s rural and coastal communities, having outdoor space and being closer to friends and relatives are high on the “must have” list for city dwellers. Other reasons, the survey found, are being close to essential services, living where outdoor exercise can be taken easily, and a strong local community.

Dr Peter Brooks, chief behavioural scientist at Barclays said: “As working from home becomes more commonplace moving cross-country looks to be more achievable for many as there is less of a need to be within a short commute to the office.”

Seaside draws them in

Barclays Mortgages research shows that almost a third of people in Birmingham and London strongly wish to leave and move to greener areas – the highest figures in the country. And in terms of where people want to move to, the clear winner is the south west of England, with parts of Wales and Scotland as runners up.

Over a quarter of people polled for the survey stated a preference to be closer to the seaside. As a result, sellers in Portishead, Weston-super-Mare and Burnham-on-Sea can expect increased interest.

A false dawn for the housing market?

With house prices defying expectations of a slowdown the latest survey by Nationwide shows that prices have increased by an average of 1.7% across the country – the biggest rise since August 2009. But is this mini-boom something of a red herring for the property market?

Robert Gardner, Chief Economist at Nationwide, was quoted in the Express saying: ‘There is a risk this [house price rise] proves to be something of a false dawn. Most forecasters expect labour market conditions to weaken significantly in the quarters ahead as a result of the after-effects of the pandemic and as government support schemes wind down. If this comes to pass, it would likely dampen housing activity once again in the quarters ahead.’

Unsurprisingly lenders are cautious given the unfamiliar circumstances we are living in today. But they are missing the point says Anna Cottrell of

Opening the property floodgates

“The property market is still feeling the effects of lockdown,” says Anna. “In other words, it’s almost certain that the people who have seemingly rushed to buy a house now had been planning to, but unable to do so for months, rather than suddenly deciding to buy.”

Robert Gardner confirms the theory. “Pent up demand is coming through, where decisions taken to move before lockdown are progressing. Behavioural shifts may be boosting activity, as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown.”

The government has stoked the market by slashing stamp duty until March 31st, and with mortgage rates at an all time low people are rushing to sell up and move. The government has also extended its Help to Buy scheme into 2021 meaning that more young people are getting on the property ladder.

Surge witnessed as houses in North Somerset flood market

Neil Urch, managing director at House Fox Estate Agents said: “we can certainly vouch for the surge in the market and a demand for houses in North Somerset. There’s been a big surge since lockdown ended and estate agents were allowed to begin selling again in mid March. We have taken over a 100 new instructions and agreed sales on 85 properties in June and July alone.

“I’d need a crystal ball to be able to say how long this boom will last. We may well see the market slow down again, but at the moment we are still taking new instructions on every day, and working flat out with valuations and viewings.”

Disclaimer: All advice on this site is given ‘as is’ House Fox Estate Agents are not responsible for any losses you may make subsequent to following the advice on this website, we advise you to always do your own research in full before you act.