Property expert provides advice on finding estate agents
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Before the pandemic, Amanda Armstrong,56, and her husband Rodger, 57, decided to leave London behind to pursue their dream lifestyle by the sea. In London, the couple and their dog Baxter shared a “tiny, one-and-a-half bedroom” cottage in Hampstead Garden Suburb. The London property was around 700 sq ft and was sold for £650,000.
Thanks to their jobs – Rodger runs a business consultancy, and Amanda runs Bijou Recruitment – the couple could move wherever they wanted.
So they chose a property around double the size of their London pad in Westbourne, Bournemouth.
Amanda used to holiday in the trendy Bournemouth suburb of Westbourne when she was a child, and so was happy to return.
In August 2019, they sold up their London home and bought a 1,800 sq ft, three-bedroom converted Victorian property for £450,000.
The dream home is located just “eight minutes” from the beach and was a blessing when the pandemic hit just over six months later.
Bournemouth’s golden sandy beaches are well-known across the nation and became packed during lockdown.
However, some of the area’s lesser-known beaches such as Alum Chine, Branksome Chine and Canford Cliffs remained blissfully quiet – a real bonus for Amanda and Rodger.
Despite living in London for a number of years, Amanda said she would not go back.
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She told the Evening Standard: “On the few occasions I have been back to the suburb I have not been able to believe how I put up with things like all the traffic.
“Here people are much more considerate, they are not in such a hurry, and it is far less stressful.
“Would I go back if I could? Absolutely not, I have not missed London anything like as much as I thought I would.”
One of the toughest aspects of the move for Amanda and Rodger was the pandemic.
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Not only did they miss their families, but it delayed their plans to become more involved with the local community.
Amanda said she had just started to meet people when the pandemic began.
She added: “It felt like we were curtailed at just the wrong moment, and it did feel very solitary at times.”
However, Amanda now works part-time in a fashion boutique in Westbourne where she has met plenty of locals.
During the pandemic, many people moved away from urban areas to more rural spots.
With many people spending more time in their homes, including working, many buyers found themselves swapping cramped living conditions for bigger homes and outdoor space for less money.
New reports this week suggest that London could be becoming a popular spot once again.
Online search volume for “rooms to rent London” has increased by 98 percent compared to 2021, while those for “shared ownership London” has increased by 48 percent, according to data from specialist analysts MediaVision.
Meanwhile, searches for “houses for sale in Cornwall” has decreased by 46 percent and “houses for sale in Devon” by 37 percent compared to last year.
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