Try before you buy – that’s the voice of experience for Londoners keen to move to the countryside for the health benefits.

‘Look before you leap’ advise house market experts. Find out if the country lifestyle within an easy commute of London provides the best of both worlds.

Six months to a year in a rented house in the leafy Chilterns should help you to decide.

Latest rental figures for Bucks from Savills offices in Amersham and Beaconsfield suggest the message has struck home.

Strength of demand has reached the point where houses with three, four or five bedrooms in the commuter belt are being snapped up the day they come on the market - even sooner if news gets out they’ll soon be available.

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One landlord, who asked not to be named, told the BFP his letting agent has 300 registered applicants. All the would-be tenants on the list are Londoners.

They’re likely to be in for a long wait. The agent only has six houses on his books.

Grainne Gilmore, head of research for online agent Zoopla, says the strength of demand for rentals in commuter zones has risen 21 per cent in the past 12 months. Houses are being let 30 per cent quicker than a year ago,

Claire Pincott who leads Savills letting team in Amersham and Beaconsfield says there’s strong competition, especially for family houses.

“Stock levels are at an all-time low,” she reports. “In a lot of cases we are letting houses before they even come on the market.”

Claire can’t see the steam going out of the market any time soon.

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“We expect to see continued demand for rental properties not least from tenants who want to move for lifestyle reasons particularly if they have been unable to find somewhere to buy.

“The longer term trends are more difficult to predict. To some extent it may well depend on how many people continue to work from home once the vaccine roll out gains more momentum. Correct pricing will be essential,” the letting agent emphasises.

“Landlords will need to be responsive to shifting demands.”

Robert Shuttleworth, Claire’s colleague who heads up the lettings team in Rickmansworth and Northwood, has 101 per cent more applicants on the books than in 2019.

He reports: “Similar to the mainstream market there has been a significant rise in tenants looking for larger properties with a private garden as well as an increase in those wanting to try before they buy.

“In some cases competition for family houses is resulting in multiple offers within an hour of them coming on the market.”