DORSET’S population grew last year as UK residents chose to move to the county amid a growing demand for housing.

It comes as Dorset Council was recently under fire after reported delays in the conveyancing process caused by the authority tackling a backlog in dealing with 'Local Search' requests.

Estate agents and conveyors in Dorset say the delays are causing unprecedented issues for buyers - particularly first-time buyers - who are at a major disadvantage due to the delays, which leave them open to being 'gazumped' by cash-rich purchasers flocking to Dorset from cities.

The searches are a requirement for the majority of mortgage lenders and form a vital part of the sale process. Estate agents advised would-be buyers to be prepared and if possible obtain a 'mortgage in principle' before making an offer.

Newly released figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the numbers of people moving to Dorset are growing.

While the ONS figures are up to June 2020, it gives us an indication that the county’s population is steadily rising and likely to rise further due to homebuyers seeking more rural areas than urban areas.

Their data looks at where people have moved from one local authority area to another, so we cannot specifically examine say whether or not for example, how many people from Bristol have moved to Weymouth.

A broad look at the data shows that people are moving to the county from other areas of the South West or bordering counties, such as South Somerset, East Devon, Bristol and New Forest.

The interesting factor is that Dorset residents are moving locally but staying within Dorset, with many relocating to BCP Council areas and Dorset Council towns and villages.

Where people are moving to Dorset from

Across Dorset, 37,737 people moved to the county – 17,014 people into Dorset Council area and BCP Council area saw 20,723 people move into the area.

The top areas that people moved from to the Dorset Council area include:

• BCP Council area - 3,720

• South Somerset - 1,069

• Wiltshire - 777

• New Forest - 636

• Southampton - 275

• Bristol – 273

• East Devon - 251

• Buckinghamshire - 236

• Plymouth - 233

• Bath and North East Somerset – 217

The top areas that people mitigated from to move to BCP Council area include:

• Dorset Council area- 2,790

• New Forest - 1,051

• Southampton - 604

• Wiltshire - 500

• Winchester - 313

• Bristol - 255

• Cornwall - 246

• Portsmouth - 238

• Brighton and Hove – 208

• Hillington - 207

Where people from Dorset have relocated to

According to the stats, 20,723 moved to the BCP Council area while 20,497 residents moved away. This means there is a net migration of 226.

Dorset Council saw 17,014 people move into the area while 14,275 moved away, with a gain 2,739 of people.

The areas that the most people moved to from Dorset Council area include:

• BCP – 2,790

• Sedgemoor – 1,015

• Cornwall – 270

• Wiltshire – 807

• New Forest - 519

• East Devon 405

• Bath and North East Somerset – 223

• Bristol - 345

• Plymouth - 213

• Southampton - 242

The areas that the most people moved to from BCP Council area include:

• Dorset - 3,720

• New Forest - 1,221

• Southampton - 582

• Wiltshire - 412

• Bristol – 318

• Winchester - 305

• Buckinghamshire - 260

• Portsmouth - 251

• Brighton and Hove - 240

• Scotland – 232

‘Dorset has a lot to offer home hunters’ - Why are people moving to Dorset

Tom Parker, consumer spokesperson at Zoopla believed that due to the coronavirus pandemic and businesses reevaluating workplace environments, people are seeking more rural areas to live in, namely Dorset.

He added that due to its scenery, it's no surprise that the county is seeing an influx of new residents.

He said: “The pandemic has led to a once in a lifetime reassessment of home, with many people considering moving to more coastal or rural locations, particularly if they’re no longer required to be in the office five days a week.

“As one of the most scenic parts of the UK, Dorset has a lot to offer home hunters looking to move to the coast with sandy beaches, natural beauty and picturesque villages.

“There’s something for everyone though with towns like Bournemouth and Poole are brimming with places to eat, drink and shop.”