London was Britain’s most searched for location to buy property at the end of 2021, just ahead of Cornwall which was the most searched for location at the beginning of last year, according to Rightmove analysis of buyer searches in 2021.
The two locations jostled for the top spot throughout the year, with Cornwall receiving the highest number of searches in January and February 2021 and London overtaking in March and April. Cornwall was the most popular location for buyer searches from May to September and London then took first place for the rest of the year.
The gap in total number of searches at the end of the year between the two locations was just 3%, compared to a difference of 24% in 2020, and 49% in 2019.
The narrowing gap can be put down to changes in buyer preferences in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More Brits looked for properties near coastal areas as living priorities changed as many worked from home during lockdown.
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London's return to the top of searches later in the year highlights its returning popularity as people went back to the office with the lifting of restrictions.Read
Rhos On Sea in Wales was the area that saw the biggest increase in buyer searches compared with 2020. Searches for the coastal town jumped more than nine times (858%) compared to the year before.
Hove in East Sussex was also a buyer search hotspot, with searches rising by 680%.
Searches for Chadlington in the Cotswolds climbed by 211%. Searches for the area skyrocketed in 2021 after it was featured in the hit Jeremy Clarkson TV Show Clarkson’s Farm. Its popularity peaked in June where searches for the village were 511% higher a year before.
In December, the coastal town of Marazion in Cornwall saw weekly buyer searches almost triple (198%) following its bid to become the UK’s smallest city, as part of a competition for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
In the week leading up to the release of the thriller film Last Night In Soho in October, buyer searches for Soho in London's West End doubled compared with the same week in October 2020.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data said: “Having 95% of the UK property market located in one place means Rightmove is the destination that curious and prospective buyers turn to first when beginning their journey of deciding where to move to. Our search data gives us real-time insight into what buyers are looking for from their next home, and the areas that are attracting future movers.
"It also gives us a unique understanding of how current events and culture can inspire people to imagine the life that could be in a new area, from countryside living in the Cotswolds inspired by the ‘Clarkson’s Farm’ TV show, to living in what could potentially be the UK’s smallest city in Marazion, Cornwall.”
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