Vendors of countryside properties are ‘cashing in’ on the coronavirus rush to get away from busy cities – and London in particular.

That’s according to several big estate agencies dealing with such rural retreats. Frank Knight reports that their more expensive country properties are selling for as much as 17 per cent over the asking price.

Panic buying for rural idylls

The rush by wealthy city dwellers to leave the capital has seen ‘frenzied activity’ in southern rural idylls, especially in locations such as the Cotswolds.

Jonathan Bramwell, of The Buying Solution, said he witnessed a buyer instruct his solicitor after just one viewing and exchange contracts within a week. Countryside estate agents said 15 per cent of registered buyers between April and May were from London – double the number than usual.

Properties priced between £2.5m and £3.5m in both Suffolk and Sussex are now regularly getting up to 10 per cent over the asking price. The number of buyers for such properties has jumped from four to 10 year-on-year.

Even wealthy buyers hit by restrictions

Strutt & Parker estate agents in Salisbury recently sold a £2m property for £200,000 over the asking price. But analysts warn the mass exodus of wealthier couples and families from London can’t continue. The stock market is expected to be badly hit when the government furlough scheme ends in October. At the same time finance lender restrictions will get even tighter.

The value of homes valued at £5m and upwards has increased by 1.2 per cent between May and June, says Frank Knight. At the same time, offers on countryside properties within travelling distance of London, priced between £5m and £10m, is 182 per cent higher than the five-year average.