The upper end of the market includes homes with a view of or, better still, direct access to the water. Irwin estimates that a pretty view will add around 20pc to 25pc to the value of a property, while those that front on to the water sell at a premium of 75pc to 100pc relative to similar properties a little way inland.
Historically the best performing towns and villages have been those with straightforward routes to the M6, making them an easy choice for buyers coming from Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Lancaster.
Since the pandemic Irwin has noticed an increasing focus on villages on the southern fringes of the Lake District, in the area around Cartmel. They have grown in popularity thanks to their proximity to commuter stations at Ulverston and Cark, useful for hybrid workers who still need to be in the office now and again.
“We saw an awful lot of young, professional families, in their late 30s and upwards, moving here, especially to the larger houses with space for home offices,” says Irwin. “They were moving out of maisonette apartments and terraces in London and up here they were looking at detached houses with an acre or so of grounds.
“A lot of people jumped on the bandwagon, and although there are fewer of them now they are still coming.”
‘Our dogs are living their best lives, and so are we’
Two years ago Amanda and Mark Sarjant were living in a converted barn in a village near Shrewsbury in Shropshire. Mr Sarjant was working as a finance director while his wife was a chartered accountant.
The couple, who have four children, both nurtured dreams of changing their life. Mrs Sarjant, 53, had retrained as a nutritionist and wanted to give up spreadsheets and audits for good. Her husband, 56 and a keen climber and walker, simply wanted to live in the Lake District, a placed he had loved for years.
Shortly before the pandemic the couple started to look for properties in the Lakes but hadn’t found anything to fit the bill. When Covid struck, the property market closed down and they put their plans on hold.
“The estate agent was still sending us details, but we weren’t really looking at them,” says Mrs Sarjant. “Then Mark got an email and opened it – perhaps he was bored at work – and it was Haven Cottage.”