When we say the words ‘future home’, we may initially think that everybody has a fairly similar view of what this means to them. 

In some ways, everybody’s vision of a future home is going to be similar in the sense they likely want somewhere nice, with good facilities, a pleasant community and somewhere that feels like their own.

But in reality, we are all different and want different things. Some will have visions of a great suburban home with close access to shops and services. Others will want a future home in the middle of nowhere, where peace and tranquility are ample.

Whatever your personal preferences, the COVID-19 pandemic has given everybody food for thought when it comes to their personal futures. And it seems that one of the effects of it within the housing market is a growing desire for city dwellers in their 30s to head for more rural countryside locations.

Why are people leaving the city?

New data from Experian has found that as many as three quarters of people in their 30s are looking to move to a rural location once the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us.

The location was even more important for 58% of responders than the property itself. So while we in the mortgage game may think that the house itself is a priority, the old adage of location, location, location rings true here.

Factors such as a garden, private parking and a spare bedroom were highlighted by respondents in the 30 something bracket, with rural homes more easily providing such luxuries.

Describing them as luxuries might seem like something of an overstatement. But for people who have potentially lived in urban conurbations for many years, the pandemic has given people the opportunity to rethink where their futures lie. 

With lockdowns and restrictions affecting all our lives over the past year or so, we have all had to realign our relationship with the space around us. And one result of this seems to be that people are looking away from cities for their next move.

Throw into the mix the changes the pandemic brought to working practices and the reduced need to be in a specific physical location to do your work, and moving to a location that meets your personal preferences makes all the more sense.

Where is best for buying your first home?

With this in mind, recent research has also shed light on the lowest cost places to buy a first home in the UK. This data is something that anybody looking to escape the clutches of the city will certainly be keen to see, especially if they want their first step onto the property ladder to be in a rural location.

This data has been compiled by Hawke Financial Services and used the average price of a semi-detached property, year-on-year house price value increase, and the number of houses sold in this location in 2020.

The best location according to the findings was Merseyside, where the average first home costs just shy of £166,000. Durham, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Northumberland make up the rest of the top five. 

This is great news for anybody currently living in any of Northern England’s major cities and fancying a change of pace.

Lincolnshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, North Yorkshire and Cumbria make up the rest of the top ten. Anybody who knows these areas will be well aware there are some beautiful locations in these regions, so buying a first home here could be a superb move.

House prices generally increased across England in 2020. Durham had the lowest rate of change for first homes in 2020, with a 6.5% increase compared to a staggering 16% increase in Hampshire, which had the largest change.

Interestingly, it is a southern county that saw the highest number of first homes bought in 2020 however. Kent had more than 20,000 first home sales completed in 2020, perhaps indicative of that desire to move to the countryside being present within London’s population.

What does this mean for contractors and freelancers?

This country-bound trend is not something specific to certain jobs or industries, and in fact the relative flexibility of freelance and contract work makes living in rural locations all the more appealing if you are this way inclined. 

Landing that first time buyer mortgage can be tricky, but with the right support it is certainly possible to find a home that meets your needs from both a location perspective, and provides for your current circumstances too.

With this trend currently very much on however, getting contractor mortgage or freelancer mortgage support could help you avoid hiccups and enable you to enjoy country living sooner rather than later.