Counties in the south west of England beat the rest of the country as the most popular places to search for property last month.

* Search for prime property for sale in the south west

Cornwall, Dorset, Devon and Somerset topped the national chart of favourite hotspots, according to the latest data from property website propertyfinder.com.

Surrey also attracted a number of property hunters, but no counties north of Lincolnshire made it into the top 10 hotspots.

It appears Cornwall was twice as popular with would-be property buyers than Surrey, while all the south western counties were far ahead of their rivals in the south east of England.

The south west has become a favourite with buyers, particularly those looking at the high-end and for water views, says Sandy Davenport from Knight Frank’s office in Exeter (01392 423111) ‘because they know homes here will retain their value no matter what happens elsewhere.’

A home with vistas of the water is the best purchase to make, she advises, be it the sea, a lake, pond, river or stream. ‘Eighty per cent of buyers ask for water views, so these waterside properties will re-sell easily.

‘Also, people are returning to places like Cornwall and Devon where they holidayed when they were children. They want to recreate that same wonderful lifestyle for their own children and are looking for holiday homes in those areas.’

* Search for prime property for sale in the south west