HEREFORDSHIRE has been identified as England’s most in-demand countryside market for home buyers looking for a lifestyle change.

There has also been a surge in buyers seeking out the good life in the Malvern Hills and the Cotswolds, the analysis from Zoopla found.

Zoopla found Rydedale was the rural area with the highest boost in sales agreed, with a 63 per cent uplift in the past six months, compared with the same period in 2019.

It was followed by Herefordshire, which has seen a 46 per cent increase, and Sevenoaks in Kent, where sales have increased by 44 per cent.

In North Devon, sales are up by 31 per cent, while in the Malvern Hills they have increased by 26 per cent, the research found.

Many housing market reports have pointed to home buyers searching for more space since the coronavirus lockdown started, where they can perhaps work from home more and commute to the office less often.

Grainne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla, said: “We are seeing a cohort of buyers choosing to buy in more rural locations, which can offer a different style of living, especially for those who have increased levels of flexibility around working from home.”

While moving out of the city is often associated with better value for money, in many areas buyers are paying a premium to live in a more rural location, Zoopla said.

For example, the Cotswold district, which encompasses Chipping Campden and Chipping Norton, generally commands higher prices than Bristol – a city that people living in this area may be commuting to.

A home mover purchasing a three-bed, semi-detached house in this district can expect to pay a typical premium of £61,500 more than the price of an equivalent three-bed, semi-detached house in Bristol, it said.

In the Malvern Hills, a three-bedroom semi-detached home is £30,000 more expensive typically than a house in nearby Birmingham, Zoopla said.

Here are the rural districts in England with the biggest percentage increases in sales agreed, comparing April to September 2020 with the same period in 2019, and the average price of a three-bedroom semi-detached house, according to Zoopla:

1. Ryedale, 63 per cent, £213,000

2. Herefordshire, 46 per cent, £219,000

3. Sevenoaks, 44 per cent, £428,000

4. High Peak, 38 per cent, £229,000

5. Cotswold district, 37 per cent, £365,500

6. North Devon, 31 per cent, £248,000

7. Breckland, 27 per cent, £218,000

8. Malvern Hills, 26 per cent, £245,000

=9. Isle of Wight, 25 per cent, £232,000

=9. Horsham, 25 per cent, £405,000