Working from home is arguably more popular and happening more often than ever before as the Covid-19 pandemic has left a lasting legacy on working practices.
And this seismic shift for many workers has resulted in many people rethinking where they actually live and where they would actually like to live. For some people, the shackles of the commute have gone, so the need to be near work has disintegrated too.
For those that can, many have looked to move out of more urban areas and chase a dream to escape to the country or get their toes in the sand at the coast permanently.
READ MORE: The Welsh seaside town where house prices have increased by 22% in a year
In some areas this has led to a rapid heating up of the property market not seen for decades, with houses in hot spots being sold within days or even before they hit the open market.
In some cases there have been bidding wars, houses sold unseen, and new owners paying over the asking price. Find out more about that here.
And at the forefront of this racing property market over the 18 months from 2021 into 2022 has been Wales, consistently the area of the UK with the fastest growing average house price and constantly setting a new record of the average house price. There’s all you need to know about house prices here.
But if moving away from the urban base of your work is an option, what does a swap of a city or town house to a country retreat get you? What can the country offer you for your city budget?
The average asking price for a detached house in Cardiff according to property portal Zoopla currently stands at £472,506, but if you want a good size garden, lots of space, four bedrooms, and the best locations within the capital you won’t get much change from £600,000.
If you’re lucky enough to have a substantial home in a posh suburb, you could be swapping the street lights, road noise and close neighbours for peace and privacy in the Welsh countryside at this delightful detached rural retreat that is thought to date back to the 1700s.
Not only is the home located at the end of a little lane shared with only one other property, it comes with almost an acre of land in a picturesque setting cloaked with panoramic views.
Nestled within the meandering route of the River Elwy, the gently undulating wooded hillsides and lush green carpet of grassland instantly create a picture perfect placement of the property, with the bonus of riverbank walks as your daily, nature-based, gym workout – instant relaxation is almost certainly guaranteed.
While you’re out rambling around your acre of land working up an appetite, the thought of alfresco dining on one of the patios or next to the wildlife pond is the yummy and idyllic reward at the end of a busy day absorbing yourself within this rural scene.
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The three bedroom cottage called Glanyrafon comes with a bonus building that makes the move from the capital to the county of Conwy with your £550,000 to £600,000 budget even more tempting.
The property comes with an attractive stone barn that currently has the configuration as a lounge, a workshop and a carport, but with planning consent, imagination and budget it could become a pretty holiday let or a separate annexe for another generational layer of the family making the move with you.
Inside there are exposed beams and roof trusses, and exposed and white-washed walls so the character is in place, now all it needs is the planning and an upgrade to become a full-scale abode.
The barn has its own pretty, raised stone terrace that overlooks the river, which would be the perfect place to contemplate its redesign, accompanied by the gentle sound of the water floating by.
Surely a remodel of the barn should include French doors or bi-folds at the end of the building so the riverside terrace is seamlessly linked to the accommodation?
The main house is a lovely home that has clearly been loved and adored over the years, with a homely and welcoming ambience that gives you a warm hug as soon as you enter.
The living room, a later addition judging by its rendered facade, makes the most of the location with patio doors and a picture window flooding the space with outdoor vistas as well as light.
The doors open out onto the garden for fantastic views and a place to relax surrounded by peace, and when you step inside you’re surrounded by character, from the ceiling beams to the exposed stone wall and fireplace.
Next to the sitting room is the dining room and obviously a section of the older house, with the ceiling beams in here chunky and charming. Another big window creates another chance to enjoy the big views, direct from your dinner plate.
Into the kitchen diner and it’s yet another inviting space, with the dining area cleverly tucked into and under what was presumably the original cottage’s kitchen inglenook fireplace. You can imagine the fire blazing in the centre, with pots hanging and food cooking above the flames.
Thankfully, now this kitchen has modern appliances to create a feast and the former fireplace can be put to good use as a cosy and comfortable place to eat and enjoy the company of others.
The inclusion of a feature wallpaper within the dining space is a great visual addition, cementing this section of the room’s importance as a feature. It draws the eye straight to it and the huge beam above, which is surely the most magnificent in the whole house; just mind you head when you’re standing up from the bench.
The colour tones of the wallpaper also ensure this side of the room has a complementary visual relationship with the moss green and sky blue tones of the kitchen work surface and wall opposite, with the choice of both shades surely a reference to nature’s colour palette of land, sky and water on view through the window.
Upstairs the cottage has three bedrooms, all of which have their own, elevated angle of the delicious views through their windows, with the principal bedroom boasting a triple vista. There’s a family bathroom on this floor too, as well as bonus basin and shower facilities in bedroom three.
With the land offering space for a cabin, the barn, and the three bedrooms, plus the addition of fibre optic broadband according to the estate agent, there are numerous places to set up an effective home office; bit of a shame that, because who wouldn’t rather be down by the river?
To swap your city pad for a place in the countryside sun you will need £550,000 and then just enough petrol to get you to Groesffordd Marli between Denbigh and Abergele, then a new life can begin.
Glanyrafon is for sale with Savills, call their Chester branch on 01244 323 232 to find out more. And to make sure you never miss the best dream homes in Wales, renovation stories and interiors, join the Amazing Welsh Homes newsletter, sent out to your inbox twice a week.