Living in the country

Covid and the subsequent rise of working from home has led more and more people to consider moving to the country. Here we’ll look at some of the points you need to think about if you’re considering moving to the country.

Country property can be hard to find

Rural areas have traditionally been areas of low housing demand, so supply is far behind demand in many places. That means despite the popular view that country property is cheap it can actually be more expensive.

One advantage of this however is that country property often holds its value very well.

Local services and amenities are usually limited

The appeal of the country is often the opportunity to live a quiet life. But that’s not always practical if you want or really need something. Shops, services, entertainment and healthcare may be a long way away. There may be little (or even no) public transport. Although rural areas are catching up, broadband speeds may be limited.

While there are some country areas with good transport, services and amenities they tend to have more expensive property because of it. Cheap rural areas are often cheap because they are not actually that liveable.

It’s usually much more expensive to live in the country, not cheaper

The idea of living cheaply in the countryside isn’t all that realistic. Consider factors such as extra travel costs, oil or solid fuel heating, and being reliant on local shops and services which are usually more expensive because their costs are higher.

A good rule of thumb is to assume your living costs in the country will be 20% higher than a town or city.

Schools are more of a problem, not less

Even the local primary schools may be some distance away in the country. Secondary schools could be a 90 minute (or longer) journey each way. There’s also likely to be limited choice.

When moving to the country it’s important to consider school catchment areas, travel modes, travel times and costs even more than in the city.

Job opportunities are limited

Many rural areas have few or even no job opportunities or only low paid jobs – in areas where living costs are higher. While that’s not necessarily a problem if you have a job which you can work online from home consider other family members, children once they leave school, or if you need to change job.

The country could offer new business opportunities, however

Living in country could offer you the opportunity to start and grow a new business. That might be something that’s not currently available there or where there’s much less competition than in the city.

Try to think outside the box here though and be innovative. There’s only a need for so many B&Bs or glamping sites for example.

Rural areas can often really benefit from new enterprise and new ideas too. In some areas there’s lots of help and support if you plan on starting a new business.

Yields can be very good

Most people planning a move to the country are planning to move themselves. But country areas are often overlooked by property investors and buy to let landlords. That often means there’s good demand for rural property to rent. Letting yields are often good in the country too.

10 Top Yielding Rural Property Hotspots – Property and Tenant Manager Blog

You can’t actually do just what you want (unfortunately)

The idea of being self-sufficient on a smallholding or living off grid is a country living dream for many people. But you should bear in mind that planning and other rules and regulations apply in country areas too. So it might not be possible to do what you want.

Planning in National Parks and AONBs is stricter than elsewhere, not more flexible.

Moving to the country can have a big impact on the local area

One new household moving into an area of 10,000 people doesn’t have much impact. One new household moving into an area of 100 people really can.

Moving into a country area can reduce the local housing supply and can push prices and rents up. It can increase the strain on local amenities, or alternatively help support them. If you plan to fully integrate into the local area it’s likely to have a more positive impact than if you will only live there part time.

There are of course many, many advantages of living in the country

To name just a few these include plenty of space, great countryside, wide open spaces, great views, low noise and light pollution, low or no traffic congestion, a slower pace of life and a safer environment with a lower crime rate.

At the end of the day, however, try not to be seduced by all the many great things that moving to the country can offer. Consider the disadvantages of living in the country as well as attractions.

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