Why buyers are looking for the 21st century village

Lucy Winfield

Village life is often romanticised as the part of the English idyll.  City folk have a continued fascination with a life connected to the land - rightly so when an increasing number of us are choosing to shun the London rat race in favour of a better quality of life.  By the end of last year, the number of people selling up and moving out of London rose by two-thirds.  It comes as no surprise then that the latest research (from Strutt & Parker) illustrates this creeping trend to move back to amenity-rich rural locations with five new village tribes.

‘The Downtons’ are an influential family with substantial income living in often the grandest village house.  Lucy Winfield, buying agent at Private Property Search, says: “In our marketplace, this particular village tribe is the most prevalent.   Such clients will often come to us to help find their house in the country.  They want larger gardens, perhaps an annexe and since the Stamp Duty changes, land and an income (for mixed use classification) is also a pull.  These buyers use a buying agent for many different reasons, but mainly as these important village houses are often sold ‘privately’ before any open market campaign, so having ‘off-market’ access is crucial.  Furthermore, in an unsettled market the benefit of having a representative during the buying process means sound advice on price and negotiation.”

The latest Housing Futures report from Strutt & Parker also cites ‘Elderflowers’ as another emerging village tribe; healthy and active retirees who have assets, including their own home and pension income.  ‘Rusticarians’ have been identified as entrepreneurs and creatives who can bring dynamism to the village economy.  ‘The Onesies’ are single-person households which are growing across all age groups in the UK at a rate ten times faster than the general population. ‘Rubies’ – or Rural Newbies – are families who are keen to move to a village location to raise their children. This group of predominantly younger families supports the local school, uses community facilities for classes and leisure facilities, and sustains local shops.

“Rubies are another village tribe that we often look after,” says Lucy.  “Coming from cities and larger towns, they are used to having fast broadband speeds, good mobile connections, well stocked supermarkets and easy access to transport links.  This basic wish list is often stipulated as a need right from the outset.  They fear being cut off from amenities from both a security and practicality perspective.  This means that they come to us asking advice on where to find the best villages and their brief is often more location than house led.  They know that picking a good village as opposed to an ok one is essential for quality of life.”

“The village revival is a creeping trend that is set to continue as more people turn their backs on the urban sprawl looking for villages with neighbourhood safety, open spaces on the doorstep and a strong community feel.  Here at PPS we provide a complete service that starts with full understanding of the client’s brief and motivation for moving.  This close relationship and understanding continues right through the property search, negotiation and up to (and beyond) the day that you move in.”

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