Thinking of moving to the country? This has been more appealing to many in the wake of the pandemic, which triggered the race for space. Lots of us wanted larger properties with bigger outside areas. But, moving somewhere new isn’t easy and requires careful consideration. Plus, with everything more or less back to normal, is the countryside still as appealing? If you’re considering it, here’s a handy guide to lend you a helping hand.
Is moving to the country a good idea?
The answer ultimately depends on what you want from where you live. If rural villages, lush greenery and friendly locals gets you excited, then moving to the countryside is probably a great idea.
The countryside offers a peaceful and scenic environment compared to the UK’s big cities, with plenty of opportunities for getting back to nature and enjoying a generally slower pace of life.
For anyone who wants to take it down a notch, the countryside can offer the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of a city. Plus, some rural areas may be more affordable than larger cities like London.
Why do people move to the countryside?
There are loads of reasons why people move to the countryside, including to enjoy a more peaceful and quieter environment that offers an alternative from buzzy urban areas.
Homes in the countryside can also provide more space, both in terms of property and outdoor areas. Families, as well as anyone who enjoys outdoor activities, will likely find this appealing. Additionally, the cost of living may be lower in rural areas compared to cities, and there’s every chance you’ll find a stronger sense of community.
Are people still moving to the countryside?
During the lockdowns, the number of people moving away from cities increased exponentially. Usually, it’s the other way around, but a rise in the number of people working from home and a desire for more space saw home buyers flipping the narrative on its head.
The numbers have since slowed a little, with more people returning to cities now that lockdown restrictions are over. Yet, research shows that movers are still after green pastures.
What do I need to know before moving to the countryside?
Country living isn’t all wellies and cosy pubs, and you need to consider if this move is a good decision. You should also have an idea of an area you’d want to move to. Some things to weigh up include:
- The cost of space
- Transport connections
- Work/life balance
- Social life
#1 – The cost of space
House prices can be cheaper in rural areas, especially when compared to city living. It’s easy to see the appeal of getting more for your money, however you need to look beyond house prices alone.
Your mortgage payments won’t be your only outgoing. Consider other associated costs, especially if you’re moving to a bigger property: it will likely cost more to run, furnish and maintain.
Your energy bills may also be higher, especially if it’s an older property. Carrying out some energy saving improvements could reduce these bills in the long-term, but these renovations will cost money.
#2 – Location
You can change many things about a property, but not its location. How remote do you want to be? You may like the idea of having no neighbours, but what about trekking to the nearest shop every time you want a pint of milk?
It’s a good idea to get a feel for an area before you move there. Visit multiple times if possible, or even stay there. Many people choose to rent temporarily before they buy in a new area to get a feel for it. This isn’t an option for everyone but something to consider.
Also, getting a property report can help you get to know an area before moving. It will provide in-depth information on everything from planning applications to local schools. Get yours below!
#3 – Transport connections
Country life doesn’t have to be remote, but some places are very off the beaten track. What are you looking for? In some places, out of the big cities, transport can be fairly limited and expensive to get around. This might be a shock to the system if you’re used to the speedy London underground.
You may need to compromise somewhere. Cheaper property prices might mean lengthy, expensive train journeys – especially if you need to commute to work. Estimate the cost of fuel and transport and weigh things up.
#4 – Work/life balance
If working from home is your new norm, you may not need to worry about commuting or living near your place of work, which can give you more freedom. But, if you do, this is something to consider, which is why many choose to live in a commuter town or city centre.
You should also look at things like mobile connection and broadband speeds – these will be extremely important if working from home!
#5 – Social life
Transport aside, how well-connected will you be in terms of support and family/friends? Socialising is important and being far away could make you feel shut off or distant.
Depending on where you move to, existing friends may not be able to visit too often, and while you can of course form relationships in your new community, you should give this some thought.
#6 – Schools
For some, moving to the country for more space is partly due to wanting to grow a family in the near future. Therefore, schools will be an important consideration. Are there many good local ones? Bear in mind that living closer to an excellent school may push house prices up.
Again, a property report can provide information on nearby schools for a property you’re looking to buy, all you need is a postcode. Get yours below!
Reminder: you may not want to move without the assurance of a place at a school, but you can’t confirm a place at a state school until you’ve exchanged contracts.
Is it cheaper to live in the country?
It depends, really. Generally speaking, homes are cheaper the further you move away from big cities. There are some outliers, however. The Cotswolds, for example, isn’t known for being a cheaper place to live than cities, and some of its housing can match and even exceed London prices.
Areas in the south of England still tend to have high house prices, so you won’t always get a better deal by moving to the countryside. Having said that, it is generally cheaper to move to villages and towns away from cities. House prices in Hertfordshire, which is only 30-odd miles outside of London, are typically more affordable than homes in the capital.
What else should I consider?
Is moving to a new area the right thing for you, right now? Regardless of where you’re moving to, some things always apply, including:
Consider your family life, career and other factors – is now a good time to move? It might be the perfect moment, or it might be worth waiting a little longer. For example, most mortgage lenders prefer you to have been in a job for at least six months.
Can you afford it?
This one sounds obvious, but is so easily forgotten. The cost of moving adds up, and it’s not only house prices you need to consider. Other costs include:
- Solicitor fees
- Mortgage arrangement costs
- Estate agent fees (if you’re selling)
- New furniture
- Survey costs
Also, you’ll need to ensure you can keep up with any mortgage repayments, or you risk losing your home. Consider your ingoings and outgoings here.
Have you decided that moving to the country is the right option for you? Then here’s some advice to help it go as smoothly as possible:
- Make connections with your new community
- Facebook hubs, sports groups, community activities are all good places to start
- Get to know the area before you buy
- A reliable car is a must!
- Beware buying land: you’ll have to manage it – are you prepared?
- Invest in some country wear
- Do your research
- Ensure your new property is future-proof
- Will it meet the needs of your family in years to come? Think long-term
- Get your finances in order, don’t be swayed by cheaper property prices alone
What are the pros and cons of living in the country?
Pros of living in the country include:
- A quieter and more peaceful environment
- More space, both in terms of property and outdoor areas
- Access to nature and outdoor activities
- A stronger sense of community
- Lower cost of living (in some areas)
- Less pollution
- More privacy and security
Cons of living in the country include:
- Limited job opportunities and access to services and amenities
- Isolation and a lack of social activities
- Longer commute times to work and other destinations
- Poor public transportation compared to cities
- Less diverse culture and population
- Less access to healthcare and other necessities
- Higher cost of living in some areas
It’s worth considering all of these factors and how they align with your personal preferences and priorities before deciding to move to the countryside.
Need help moving home?
We’ve teamed up with Propertymark, the leading membership body for property agents, in season 6 of the Move iQ podcast. Together, we’ve made it our mission to help you move home the right way. Tune in below, or on your podcast app of choice.
Moving to the country?
Before you move, get your hands on a property report. It will arm you with plenty of information to help you make the right choice when buying a new home. Get yours below!
Last Updated: July 19th, 2023