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Post-Covid Reality Will Tip The Scales In Favour Of Rural Property

A mass move to the countryside could be on the cards in Scotland after the pandemic has passed, as city dwellers prioritize the space and health benefits of rural living.

Property consultancy Galbraith reports strong demand for rural properties and daily telephone enquiries from prospective purchasers. Visits to the firm’s web site are up by 21.3% since the lockdown began and its social media reach grew by 28.54% over the same period, as house hunters search for their dream rural home.

Simon Brown, a partner with Galbraith and head of residential agency, said:

Rural property is likely to be the main beneficiary of the current period of lockdown due to the added appeal of a rural lifestyle and because many people will have found that working from home has been quite straightforward. A much larger pool of buyers will be evaluating properties that are outside the normal commuting distance to larger towns and cities. As long as broadband speeds are sufficient, there is no reason to put off that long-cherished dream of escaping to the country.

Pricing in the suburbs has always been higher than in rural areas, which provides a further incentive to sell up and move further out. In the prime locations in Glasgow and Edinburgh for example, prices have risen considerably over the past two years. 

“The experience of living in lockdown will have fuelled the desire for a nice garden or a couple of acres of land, with space between you and your neighbours.

Galbraith handles the sale of property worth £54m on average per quarter, primarily rural houses, farms and estates.

During lockdown Galbraith has held five successful closing dates for property in Central Scotland, the Lothians, Angus and the Scottish Borders, with the firm having a further 14 sales completed, 9 under offer and 15 new properties launched in the last three weeks, a demonstration of the continued demand within the market and the confidence of sellers. One property in Renfrewshire received 35 requests for a viewing within two weeks of coming on the market.

In the first quarter of 2020, the market was buoyant and levels of activity were very strong in many parts of the country. In Fife, the shortest time taken to sell a property was three days; in Ayrshire viewings were up by 40% compared to the preceding quarter.

Simon Brown continued:

While difficult at this stage to speculate, there might very well be a market rebound soon after the restrictions are lifted. We have a portfolio of clients looking to sell their property over the next three months.

Galbraith has offered virtual viewings, video property tours and tailored advice for prospective purchasers during this period, to help them prepare for a full reopening of the market.