SALES of homes for £1 million or more have surged since lockdown – with many Londoners relocating to Winchester.

According to a study by estate agents Savills, the South East has seen a 6,560 per cent rise in million-pound property sales compared to this time last year.

Lucian Cook, head of residential research, said that buyers have been looking for more space and a lifestyle change.

He added that those moving out of London and looking for a less dramatic lifestyle have moved to places such as Tunbridge Wells, Guildford and Winchester.

“Lifestyle relocation has been a big theme in the market since lockdown began to ease, and this is very clearly reflected in the numbers," said Mr Cook.

“Relocation and staycation locations such as the Cotswolds, South Oxfordshire, Dorset, Cornwall and Wiltshire have been standout performers.”

In April, Winchester Estate agents reported a sharp increase in the number of people seeking to flee the capital to move to the local area.

Suzanne Diamond, lettings director of Charters, which has offices in Winchester and Alresford, said of the increased demand: “All our offices have noticed this. There are a lot of people, predominantly families, wanting rural properties and substantial ones, rather than in centres.

“All are wanting to move quickly. We had someone come down, offer on a property, and take the keys to move in the next day. They have said it is because of the (coronavirus) situation and wanting somewhere that they believe is safer.

“They want isolated country homes, without neighbours without anybody too close. It feels safer.”

Winchester was also named the happiest place to live in the UK back in July.

A study by Raisin UK found the average salary for people living and working in the city is £35,346, a figure higher than the UK average.

Winchester beat Lichfield and Chichester to first place. The cities came second and third respectively.