London leavers get more value for money in the countryside

Wolsey Park - living room

The draw of a countryside lifestyle has always been an attractive prospect for house-hunters, with its popularity growing steadily in recent years due to the pandemic, and a shift in working habits. Last year, Londoners purchased 62,210 homes outside of the Capital in search of a quieter pace of life in the countryside, an 8% increase on the number of homes purchased by similar buyers in 2019.

But now that life has almost completely returned to its pre-pandemic state, buyers aren’t just looking for a property in the countryside with space to work from home. They’re looking for more – more value for money, more space and more health benefits, all within a location that is still commutable for travel into the office when needed. 

But where are London leavers moving to? According to estate agent Hamptons, the average Londoner purchases a home 34 miles away from the Capital, with the home county of Essex a very popular choice. The Essex towns of Brentwood and Basildon feature in the top 15 local authorities with the biggest increase in prospective buyers from London, whilst locations such as Chelmsford, Braintree and Cressing further along the A12 corridor are also appealing to buyers looking to relocate. As well as Essex, the neighbouring home counties of Sussex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire and Kent are also among the most popular with London leavers. 

One of the main factors drawing house-hunters to the countryside is the larger properties, where buyers can get more square footage for their money. In a Central London location such as Shepherd’s Bush, the average apartment has a price of £571,240. In comparison, moving further out into Essex, buyers in the popular town of Rayleigh will find that they can get a whole house with much more space, for less than it costs for a city apartment. At Wolsey Park, our collection of homes in Rayleigh, The Skylark is a three-bedroom detached house priced at £499,995, boasting 1,171sqft of generously-sized open-plan interiors, two bathrooms and a private rear garden. For buyers that want something even larger, in Braintree a four-bedroom detached house at The Paddocks is priced at £479,995 for 1,327sqft.

The benefit of a healthier lifestyle is another pull factor for moving out of the city. Countryside developments offer residents the benefits of breathing clearer air, providing more outside space for walking, running, cycling and an array of other outdoor exercise options. At St Luke’s Park in the quaint Essex village of Runwell, you won’t need to leave where you live to get some well-needed fresh air.  The development is built within mature woodland, and we have planted thousands of new trees, plants and shrubbery to ensure all residents reap the rewards of a healthier, green lifestyle. Close by, Beaulieu has over 175 acres of green space on the development itself, including a number of play parks for younger members of the family.

Further afield, both of these developments are situated in the centre of a variety of first-class countryside. Just over 20 minutes from Beaulieu by car, RHS Hyde Hall hosts a selection of bright and colourful gardens all year round, with meadows, woodland and a rose and vegetable garden to explore. Also close by, Hanningfield Reservoir is 15 minutes from St Luke’s Park and covers 870 acres of mature woodland, hosting a beautiful carpet of bluebells to wander through in the Spring months, as well as a fishing lake, adventure playground and a sailing lake.

Although many professionals have returned to the office now, a large number of people are choosing hybrid working, meaning spacious home offices with fantastic broadband connections are still a priority when looking for a new home. All of our developments have hyperoptic broadband installed, providing access to super-fast fibre broadband almost instantly – a necessity for professionals working from home. At Beaulieu in Chelmsford, extra bedrooms in many of our new homes have ample space to adapt into home offices for a dedicated work from home space.

And, for the days when travelling into the office is necessary, countryside homes that are close to rail links and major roads for easy travel into London are a key factor for professionals. All of our developments in Essex are located close to major road and rail links, including the A120, A131 and the A12 which leads into the M25 and wider motorway network. From our locations across Essex, London is reachable in under an hour, including trains to London Liverpool Street from Chelmsford (35 mins), Rayleigh (45 mins), Cressing (56 mins) and Braintree in one hour. The new community at Beaulieu will also have access to the brand new Beaulieu Park train station, due to open in 2026,  which will provide a faster gateway into Central London via the East Anglian line.

For further information on our countryside Essex developments, please visit