For many house hunters who looked to move over the past year, the shift towards working from home saw them longing for a change of scenery and more space to create enviable home offices.
The tempting appeal of letting off lockdown steam in rural or coastal life, with the added benefit of open countryside and being able to work from home, meant the property market’s bounce back post-pandemic came much earlier in rural areas than in urban centres.1
With people now heading back to hybrid working patterns, there is an emerging property trend – towards a so-called “cocktail belt”. This trend has seen people opt for countryside locations, yet areas still within easy reach of all the amenities and bright lights a city has to offer.
This is what drew Richard Purcell, his partner Teresa, and their daughter Georgia out of Birmingham and south towards the countryside.
Moving from their home in Acocks Green – four miles Southeast of Birmingham City Centre – the family were the first to move onto our Fernleigh Park development in the village of Long Marston.
This flagship development for our Midlands region has proved popular since its launch, with high demand. Within the first two months of 2022 Fernleigh Park is now over 50% sold for the year with very limited opportunities for a late summer move.
On the edge of the Cotswolds’ northernmost tip, the move to Long Marston helped Teresa and Richard realise their dream of more greenery and open space, yet one which still retained good transport links, connections, good schools and amenities.
Richard - who works across Warwickshire and Stratford - said the decision to relocate was an easy one for them to make, and despite the busy property market, the process of relocating was seamless.
Richard adds: “Although there are plenty of city-centre parks, living so close to Birmingham city centre during successive lockdowns was certainly a claustrophobic experience for us and our daughter. We wanted a better way of life for her and to give her an atmosphere free from the anxieties of city-centre living.
“Teresa and I really wanted to move out of the centre and to settle down surrounded by open spaces and abundant countryside, creating more opportunities in a better location for our daughter, Georgia, and plenty of walks for our dog. We originally settled on Shipston, as I was working around the corner in Long Marston.
“However, driving to work one day, we spotted Cala’s development at Fernleigh Park, which is on the outskirts of the village and a short hop into the Cotswolds, and we immediately booked a viewing.
Teresa continued: “We were really impressed with the style of the houses and the location suited us perfectly as it was surrounded by countryside, but was still within easy reach of our family, as well as larger towns and cities.
“Our last place in Acocks Green was over 100 years old, and it needed a good deal of work in upkeep and re-decorating. With our full-time jobs and looking after Georgia, we really didn’t have the time to re-modernise it.
“We had a quick look out of interest and to see how much the homes were at Fernleigh, and we fell in love straight away. After seeing the property, it just made complete sense to us. We both said, “yeah, let’s go for it!” and we reserved the house that same day.”
Teresa and Richard bought the three-bedroom detached Hunsley home at Fernleigh Park. The new village community is just a 10-minute drive from both Stratford-upon-Avon and the Cotswolds, with an abundance of green spaces, cycle paths and countryside walks on the development’s doorstep.
Richard continued: “We still had our property to sell in Birmingham, but we were concerned with how busy the housing market was, which is why we opted to simplify the process through Cala’s Part Exchange Service.
"Part Exchange is a service which Cala provides, where they buy your existing property to allow a chain-free move into a new home. With the market being so busy over the past year, we knew we had a cash buyer in place, without any risk of chain problems.
“It was a seamless process; we arranged the removals, and the Cala team were really supportive with helping us through every stage of the part exchange.
“Although we’re the first to move onto the development, it's been great to see our neighbours move in this month and to see it grow into a community. The walks around us have been ideal, when walking the dog, and just behind us, there’s a greenway link due to open, which takes you all the way into Stratford.”
The family moved into the three-bedroom Hunsley home, which has a separate sitting room to the front and a spacious open plan kitchen/diner and family room with skylights to the rear, leading out to the garden.
“When we’re together, we spend most of our time outdoors - nearly half of Fernleigh is dedicated to green open space, and the Cotswolds is just a short trip out. When we’re inside, you’ll find us relaxing in the family room, which extends into the garden. Its open-plan kitchen is ideal as Teresa loves cooking, so we can all chill out after a long day and relax in there on an evening - it’s great.”
Reflecting on the move, they both agreed: “We’ve not looked back on our move to the countryside. We're closer to our commutes for work, but above all, the only thing we were aiming for was to create a home for Georgia which could give her a better way of life away from the stresses of city-centre living, and it’s certainly lived up to those hopes.”
Fernleigh Park is a collection of 246 two, three, four, and five-bedroom homes, which once complete, will be accompanied by cycle paths, a community hub, and an expansive 52 acres of green space including wildlife ponds, play parks, sport pitches, allotments and a community orchard.
A third of residents moving into Fernleigh have opted to use Cala’s Part Exchange Service, which gives buyers the certainty of a chain-free move without any estate agent fees. To find out more about the service, please visit our Part Exchange page.
For information on current availability of homes and prices, please visit Fernleigh Park or call the sales team on 01789 863 941.