Gaelic group Sian
Gaelic group Sian

City dwellers eye farms in search of ‘The Good Life’

URBANITES have spent lockdown dreaming of a move to the countryside, according to figures from an estate agent.

Savills said that the number of searches on its website for rural properties have jumped by 50% since March.

The firm also carried out a survey, which found a village or country location is now more attractive to 40% of house hunters, increasing to 50% for those with school-aged children.

Charles Dudgeon, UK head of Savills’ farms and estates, said: “We are seeing this shift to country living all over the UK and, as we ease out of lockdown in Scotland, it will gather pace north of the Border too, with the residential buyer becoming of much greater relevance to the farmland market.

“It follows the pattern we saw in the late 80s and mid 90s, when sellers in the south of England were cashing-in and heading north to secure a lot more bang for their buck.

“Savills currently has 200 viewings of Scottish country properties pending and, now that lockdown measures are lifting here, we expect to see many buyers putting forward offers and ultimately making their rural dreams a reality by buying farms of all types and sizes.

“It is certainly worth farmers who are looking to sell casting their net far wider to catch this new style of buyer, irrespective of scale.”

Savills highlighted Changue Farmhouse near Newton Stewart – which was on the market for offers over £550,00 – as one property that’s already benefited from the trend, having been sold in April to a couple from south of the Border.

Sian Houston, Savills’ associate director in Dumfries, said: “Changue generated interest from people we hadn’t seen in the market before, pointing to a growing trend of ‘lifestyle’ buyers.

“The ultimate purchasers of this lovely smallholding of 40 acres, with a refurbished farmhouse, were looking for privacy and a rural setting.

“Changue has given them the biggest garden they could ever want and space for an office.

“For those who are selling their current home in the city, where values are generally higher, it means a life on the land and working from home can become a reality.”

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