Try before you buy. That’s estate agents’ advice for Londoners looking for a house close to countryside but an easy commute from the capital.

Phones have been ringing off the hook in letting agents’ offices in Bucks since lockdown restrictions were eased.

Pictured is Little Shardeloes, a four bed, four bath period property in Old Amersham. The 18th century terraced house at the end of the High Street was let by Savills to the first people who viewed it after it came on the books post lockdown for £3,500 a month.

For London commuters the Old Town is only five minutes drive from the station car park at Amersham on the Hill. The Chiltern Line service into Marylebone takes 32 minutes.

Sixty four per cent of Savills offices in the commuter belt report an increase in rentals to tenants largely from London and the suburbs.

The number of new applicants registering with the agency each week is 77 per cent higher than the weekly average for the first three months of this year.

Claire Pincott who leads the lettings team in Beaconsfield and Amersham says properties are being snapped up so quickly there’s not a lot left on the books.

Buyers and tenants returning to the workplace following the pandemic could be in for a welcome surprise. Employers’ attitudes to working practices have become more accommodating.

A good percentage of commuters previously office-based now have the option to work from home at least part of the week. Many are hoping the more flexible approach will become the new norm, not just a short term arrangement to keep companies afloat while the economy recovers from lockdown.

It’s for this reason that buyers and tenants are already widening the geographic area when they look for a new place to live.

Local agents confirm an increasing number of inquiries are from buyers and renters moving out of London and suburbs such as Harrow.

As Claire Pincott emphasises: “Moving home isn’t just about swapping one set of four walls and a roof for another. Often it provides an opportunity for a new lifestyle.

“The surrounding area plays an important part – factors such as the quality of the schools, the types of shops and whether there’s an active local community.

“It is especially true for those moving somewhere completely new.

“Since lockdown measures were eased we have seen a growing trend in people wanting to rent before committing to a purchase particularly among those who have decided to make the move from London.”

All the agents we talked to this week said new inquiries were largely from Londoners and the suburbs looking to rent before making a longer-term commitment to an area.

Typical new tenancy arranged by Chancellors in Wycombe is for a three-year term with a 12 month break clause after a year. Average length of occupancy is currently 18 months to two years.

“Demand for houses suitable for a small family is outstripping supply. The rental for a two bed has increased by £100 a month,” reported an agent in Connells’ central letting department in Aylesbury on Monday morning.

*Bargain-hunters looking for discounts in the house market could be out of luck according to the latest analysis by Knight Frank.

The firm found price reductions are still being agreed in the wake of Covid but sellers are stiffening their resolve. Demand is growing more quickly than supply.

The number of new prospective buyers registering with KF was 94 per cent higher than the five-year average in the week ending July 25. The corresponding increase in supply was 54 per cent.

Tom Bill, the agency’s head of UK Residential Research puts it down to a build up of demand against the backdrop of Brexit, tax changers and tighter lending rules. “This is putting pressure on prices,” he says. “In fact prices are firmer now than they were a year ago. On average, offers were accepted at 98 per cent of the asking price in July, a percentage point higher than the same month last year.

“There have been numerous instances where agreed prices have exceeded the asking price in recent weeks.”