If you’re selling up to move down in size, what’s the ideal location? The lure of the buzzy city life or the calm of a rustic retreat? We size up the options in the North East.

Newcastle vs Northumberland

Market towns like Morpeth, Hexham, Alnwick and Corbridge regularly top the ‘quality of life stakes.

If you hanker for an easier pace of life with acres of space – be it beach or countryside – on your doorstep then a bustling town could be the move to make. A city like Newcastle has much going for it in terms of amenities – from culture to leisure to food and festivals. There’s always something going on to tap in to plus plenty of daytime and early-bird discounts and concessions for those with time on their hands. Take advantage of the Metro system to buy in to chic suburbs.

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The new 26-storey Hadrian’s Tower is Newcastle’s highest building, complete with a glitzy sky lounge. Floor-to-ceiling windows take advantage of amazing views and the fitting are slick and stylish. The city’s amenities are literally on your doorstep.
Two bed penthouse flat £405,000. Avocado estates.

The Maltings, Alnwick offers a hint of historic with the mod cons of apartment living in a thriving market town. From the outside it’s a honey-coloured restored mill but inside it provides light, airy living space in the heart of Alnwick. You’re moments from Barter Books and the Alnwick Garden.
Two bed apartment £185,950. Bradley Hall.

Tees Valley vs Durham

The Tees Valley boasts some great quality-of-life areas to live. Rail access is good and the Tees Barrage is home to a host of watersport activities if that’s your thing. Middlesbrough is having a moment in terms of its food offering, seeing an upsurge in independents and a regular arts and food market. Likewise, smaller market towns like Yarm, Norton and Hurworth are the places to find character properties, independent shops and quality restaurants, cafes, restaurants and wine bars.

As a Unesco World Heritage heritage city, Durham is one of the most stunning places to live on the planet.

Discover amazing architecture on the doorstep, great culture and landscape.  A well-loved theatre and cinema as well as beautiful river walks add to the attraction as do some remarkable properties. The city boats great access to the rest of the UK thanks to the East Coast rail network.

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The Mews, Marmaduke Place in Norton village is the ultimate downsizer property. A state-of-the-art new-build interior with a village green and duck pond on your doorstep and great café culture in walking distance.
£250,000. Browns estate agents.

Period property, city centre views and an historic address. A luxury apartment development with lashings of original features within the 1700s building that was  the former home of the Durham County Club, which once entertained HM the Queen.
The development will be complete by March 2018. Fifty-two-group.

North Yorkshire vs York

North Yorkshire’s market towns such as Stokesley and Helmsley are the epitome of rustic downtime living. They are rustic, pretty and thriving thanks to their chocolate box charm. You might not always find a bargain but you will bag a property in a place that will mean you’ll never be short of visitors!

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Honeypot heaven in Helmsley – with an English country garden included. A sweet, pretty postcard-perfect character cottage which has been tastefully updated for convenient  living. Right in the heart of this popular village.
£289,950. Carter Jonas.

A truly grand apartment in a historic city centre building with lashings of character and airy, light-filled rooms. Everything that’s good about city living is on your doorstep but you’re also in a relatively quiet location.
£525,000. Lancaster Samms.



Relaxed pace of life
Often more for your money price-wise
Fresh air & farmers’ markets
Community spirit

Community spirit – will they let you be part of it?
Facilities – such as health, culture, fitness
Transport – is everywhere a car journey away?
Routine – a lack of spontaneity


Plenty going on, all the time
Access to culture, galleries and events
Food – great choice of restaurants on your doorstep
Transport links

Not being able to switch off from the frenzy
Property more expensive


According to the Office for National Statistics, on average 55- to 65-year-olds across all price preferences still tend to move away from urbanised areas once they retire.

Rural and coastal regions report net “in migration”. Yet there is anecdotal evidence that the trend is shifting.

Newer city buyers are increasingly long-time homeowners moving to cities for urban offerings such as restaurants and theatres.

In the UK about 40 per cent of over-65 households can afford to downsize within the same area and still have a least £50,000 left over to supplement their pensions, according to property specialists Savills.

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