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Our property preferences appear to be changing due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

New research has shown that Cornwall is now more popular than London as people search online for new homes to buy or rent.

Property website Rightmove says that the South West has replaced the capital as the most searched location, with more than 5 million searches for homes in Cornwall during February.

Rightmove compared searches carried out in January and February with the same two months last year.

They found that searches for property to buy or rent in the Cornish village of Stithians increased by 224%, with searches for Polperro up by 203%.

Devon remained in third place, behind London in second, with Dorset moving from 20th place a year ago to 10th place this year.

Another big increase took place for property searches in Braemar in Aberdeenshire, up by 189%.

In London, 39% of house hunters were looking for properties outside of the City last year, increasing to 52% this year.

The data from Rightmove shows that we are looking for homes with more space.

The most sought after property type for renters last year was a two-bedroom flat. This year, the most desired home was a two-bedroom semi-detached house.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said:

“The stand-out trends over the past year have been increased demand for countryside and coastal living, more people making the dream of a detached home a reality, and the increased appeal for a garden.

“The huge population of London means that traditionally it’s the most searched-for location on Rightmove, but the appeal of the coast and the countryside over the past year has seen Cornwall crowned the new capital this year.

“More space has always been the most common reason for people moving home, but the evolution for many from balancing their laptop on the end of a bed last March to making an office a permanent addition to a home, whether that’s by converting a bedroom, garage or garden shed, has led to a need for even bigger homes than before.

“This is evident with five-bed detached homes seeing the biggest growth in sales, and two-bed homes becoming the most sought after for people renting.”

Along with these changing property preferences, the average asking price of homes has also risen, up by 0.8% in March.

According to Rightmove’s monthly House Price Index, there are 34% more potential buyers than a year earlier, with a far more active property market as a result.

Sales are already agreed for two in three properties on estate agents’ books, creating a good market for those selling property.

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