Market town life is more popular than ever

Posted on October 28, 2019 | News

The Times has published a survey showing people are moving out of cities and heading for market towns in England and Wales

The Times newspaper has just published the results of a countrywide survey that shows that some of Britain’s biggest cities are losing residents, as people not only consider affordability issues but are also placing the benefits of a better, healthier lifestyle above the amenities and convenience of city living.

The report – by Hamptons International – suggests that in 2018 there was a net exodus from 12 of the largest cities in England and Wales, with Greater London showing the biggest outflow – perhaps not surprising, given the escalating costs of home ownership and rental accommodation in the capital. But residents are also abandoning other, more affordable, cities, including Birmingham and Manchester. In fact, the only cities in the country’s top 15 locations to see an increase in population were Durham, Liverpool and Wakefield.

Interestingly, the beneficiaries of the flight from cities are apparently the country’s market towns, which offer more space for buyers’ budgets, cleaner air, good schools, connected communities and a growing array of amenities – including more sophisticated shops and services that are more usually associated with large towns and cities.

At Russell Armer, we’re fielding interest from families who want to put down roots in towns and villages that score highly on national happiness and well-being surveys. For instance, Kendal is always a popular destination for those looking for an escape to the country that doesn’t involve abandoning café and theatre culture!

One of our latest developments, Oakfield Park, is situated in Kirkby Lonsdale which came top in The Sunday Times ‘Best Places to Live in the North West’ report in 2019. Kirkby Lonsdale was praised for its stunning landscape, historic architecture and welcoming community, as well as for its highly rated schools but it’s difficult to pinpoint any single factor when dozens of smaller elements combine to make this particular market town such a great place to live.

If you’re thinking of leaving the bright lights of the city for market town living, here are a few things to look for in your perfect location:

Access – can you get out and about with ease (and without opening a dozen farm gates)? One of the reasons people love market towns is because they can live within walking distance of shops, transport links and other amenities such as health centres and libraries. If you need to use your car to commute to work, is the road network suitable?

Size – ideally, a market town is small enough to feel part of a community but large enough to encourage diversity and to support a good selection of shops, bars, cafes and entertainment options. If you love the outdoors, a town close to walking and cycling routes is a good move.

Schools – one of the best things about living in a market town like Kirkby Lonsdale is that families can anticipate superb educational facilities from primary right through to sixth form. If your children can walk to school, you’ll save lots of time, expense and energy over the years.

Housing – is there a good selection of housing on offer? Ideally, a mix of old and new? Some people favour period properties but if you’re making a big move, a quality new build that doesn’t have any immediate maintenance requirements could be the smart move. You’ll also likely benefit from lower heating bills and up-to-date tech (Oakfield Park homes have access to a hyper-fast BARN broadband connection).

Longevity – does your chosen market town have appeal for all ages? If you’d like to settle down for life, check out the provision for older residents, as well as young ones.