Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales of small country Czech cottages have exploded in the Czech Republic, ushering in a “new era” of cottage culture, according to social geographer Dana Fialová of the Aktuáln newspaper.
Richard, a university lecturer in Olomouc, Czech Republic, laid down the money to buy a modest cabin deep in the countryside a few months ago. He and his wife needed a peaceful place to go on weekends after the birth of their first kid.
“COVID and more stable jobs are another factors; since it is now more difficult to travel abroad we want to enjoy more time here,” he said.
However, this has generated concerns that ordinary Czechs may now be priced out of the market. Cottage sales grew by 12% in the first nine months of 2020, with values up nearly a third over 2019 prices, according to a poll by Reas, a local real estate business, as the larger property market saw prices rise by 20-30% since early 2020.
The Czech Republic is littered with country cottages, which are often modest two-story houses with an attic bedroom and a small kitchen downstairs, as well as a large piece of land. According to the publication Lidovky, a third of families own one.
Other surveys say that one-in-seven people have access to a rural getaway, but because most friends and family share cottages, an even larger percentage of the population has access to a rural retreat.
“Most people try to either move out of the city and have their own house, or as a substitute, have a weekend [cottage] to go out and spend time in nature,” said Richard.