London commuters could be behind Salisbury’s house prices soaring over the pandemic as lockdown has changed priorities for city highflyers, according to research.

Salisbury had the highest growth in house prices of any UK city over the pandemic and was found to be in the nation’s top 20 least affordable cities this year by Halifax.

Hamptons’ Associate Director Chris Husson-Martin, who has worked in estate agency for 34 years, suggests this boom over the pandemic has been driven by Londoners branching out to greener cities like Salisbury, which are still well connected to the capital, to buy homes.

Salisbury Journal: SALISBURY: The city in the countrysideSALISBURY: The city in the countryside

Are more Londoners moving to Salisbury?

Chris Husson-Martin, who opened the Hamptons office in Salisbury eight years ago, says that more than 50 per cent of their applicant database now have either a London or a home counties postcode.

Hamptons’ Wiltshire-wide data shows an increase in buyers from London between 2019 and 2021 taking numbers to a record high in the past decade.

In 2019 only five per cent of Hamptons’ Wiltshire house buyers were from London, after a dip in city dwellers moving to the county since 2017.

This recovered to 10 per cent of Wilshire buyers coming from London in 2020, soaring to 15 per cent of all Hamptons’ Wilshire buyers coming from London so far this year which is the highest percentage in their ten-year data set.

How has the pandemic changed the housing market in Salisbury?

Over the pandemic, Salisbury had the highest growth in house prices of any UK city according to research from Halifax published in August.

READ: Salisbury is the number one UK city for house prices soaring during Covid pandemic

This same research also found Salisbury to be the 11th least affordable city in the UK with the average house cost in Salisbury (£392,355) at 10 times the average salary (£39,154).

London ranked outside of the top five least affordable cities for the first time in six years, but the average house price is still high at £564,695 compared to the average salary of £51,257.

READ: Salisbury one of most expensive cities in UK to buy a house

Another notable change has been that whilst the cost of houses has increased over the pandemic, the cost of flats dropped by 4.8 per cent over this same period according to data from Hamptons and the Land Registry.

Mr Husson-Martin explains: “The demand coming out of lockdown was for family homes with gardens, and that’s why you saw such a massive swing in pricing for houses compared to flats.”

He suggests that the market for flats is starting to pick up again, as the older people who would be downsizing to flats in the city centre are now coming out of self-isolation.

Are Londoners pushing up house prices in Salisbury?

The average Hamptons property in Wiltshire went for 102 per cent of the asking price between 2020-2021, the first time this figure has gone above 100 per cent since data begins in 2009.

This suggest the average house is going for a ‘best and final offer’ which is higher than the asking price and used when there are multiple bidders competing.

If we compare the percentage of buyers from London and the percentage of asking price achieved since 2017, we see a positive correlation.

This indicates that London buyers may push up house prices, as the increase in the percentage of house buyers in Wiltshire from London matches an increase in properties going for closer to, or over, the asking price.

It is clear that the pandemic has also had an impact on both figures, with both the value of houses (in terms of asking price achieved) and the percentage of buyers coming from London increasing significantly between 2020 and 2021.

Why are Londoners choosing to move to Salisbury during the pandemic?

On what is driving this increase of Londoners moving to Salisbury over the pandemic, Mr Husson-Martin suggests: “The change in lifestyles, with more people working from home, has meant our beautiful city [Salisbury] is one of the hotspots for those seeking a change in lifestyle.

“They can move from London, and buy homes in glorious villages, stunning vistas and everything our city has to offer with our tagline being, ‘the city in the countryside’, this has never been truer.

“That’s why we have seen so many people wanting to buy, and this has had a direct impact on our house prices and continues to do so.”

In terms of more logistical reasons as to why London workers move to Salisbury rather than elsewhere, Mr Husson-Martin said: “Our links back to London are attractive, and if you wish to commute back, you likely will only have to go into the office a few days a week now.

“Our broadband is good and putting up with a 30 minute longer journey compared to Winchester, means you can enjoy a better housing stock and certainly better value for money than Winchester.

“We also have some of the best state and private schooling in the country, and this is regularly quoted by applicants as being their driver for bringing their family to [Salisbury], and its surrounding villages.”

Mr Husson-Martin, who worked at other established estate agents across London and the home counties before settling here, is extremely fond of Salisbury, “I love Salisbury because it is so quintessentially English and truly is the city in the countryside.”

As things return to a ‘new normal’ it will be interesting to see whether house prices in Salisbury continue to soar as commuters escape London’s hustle-and-bustle to greener, quieter places.

What are your thoughts on the current housing market in Salisbury and how the pandemic is changing people’s priorities? Let us know in the comments.

Get more Salisbury news

You can also like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date.

If you want online news with fewer ads, unlimited access and reader rewards - plus a chance to support our local journalism - find out more about registering or a digital subscription.

Email with your comments, pictures, letters and news stories.