DEMAND for larger properties in Dorset is expected to remain high as buyers put easy access to the countryside and coast at the top of their wish list, a new survey reveals.

After a year spent living under the constraints of the pandemic, proximity to open spaces now sits firmly at the top of home movers' priority lists, according to a survey of more than 1,100 Savills buyers and sellers. By contrast, proximity to a station or place of work has slipped right down the list of must haves.

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When asked to name their priorities in selecting their new home, 55 per cent of all respondents put proximity to a park or open space in their top two choices, up from 42 per cent in a survey carried out in April 2020. Being close to a station was a top two priority for just 28 per cent, down from 39 per cent last year, while living close to a place of work was named by only 15 per cent, down from 27 per cent.

Dorset Echo: Orchard House, Chaldon Herring, Dorset, guide price £1,195,000 Picture: SavillsOrchard House, Chaldon Herring, Dorset, guide price £1,195,000 Picture: Savills

Ashley Rawlings, from Savills Wimborne, said: "At the top of the buyers' wish lists is more space, a large garden, views and easy access to the countryside and coast. Dorset, of course, has a wealth of beautiful open spaces to enjoy and, as a result, we are seeing continued strong demand for properties across the county."

A desire to be closer to family was another priority for home buyers following a year that has left many people feeling the distance between themselves and loved ones. Proximity to family was named in the top two priorities by 48 per cent of respondents, up from 39 per cent.

Mr Rawlings said: "We have always seen demand from buyers with family or connections to the area returning to live here and we've certainly seen this continue over the last year.

Dorset Echo: Eastbrook House, Upwey, Dorset, guide price £2,250,000 Picture: SavillsEastbrook House, Upwey, Dorset, guide price £2,250,000 Picture: Savills

"Our findings suggest that the pandemic, and in particular the constraints of lockdown, will leave a lasting impression on the housing market and continue to shape what buyers want from their home for the foreseeable future.

"We expect that demand for larger properties in the Dorset area will continue to be strong as people continue to reassess their work-life balance."