Online searches for accommodation in London have soared this year while those for country properties are in freefall according to new analysis providing the latest evidence of a “boomerang” return to the capital.The volume of searches using the term “rooms to rent London” is up 98 per cent on 2021 so far this year while those for “shared ownership London” is 48 per cent higher.Over the same period searches for “houses for sale in Cornwall” are down 46 per cent and “houses for sale in Devon” 37 per cent lower, according to data from specialist analysts MediaVision.London rents fell and property prices flatlined during the pandemic when thousands of residents decided to move out of the metropolis in a “race for space” quest for more room to work from home and a garden.However, as offices have reopened since last summer interest in city living has revived strongly, particularly for flats.READ MOREStorm Dudley to bring strong winds which could endanger life – Met OfficeDjokovic ‘wrong’ to refuse vaccine, top sport doctor saysAndrew’s civil case: What was alleged and what has been agreed?SPONSOREDCovid-19 booster: why we’re glad we’ve had the vaccineMediaVision’s chief executive Louis Venter said: “Online search behaviour is such an important indicator of people’s thoughts and decision-making process, especially when it comes to home-buying and property rental. Many people in the south east want to be closer to work, as it is no longer necessary to work from home. “Despite the fact that many people left urban life during Covid, this data shows that people aren’t as excited about living in coastal or commuter towns as they once thought. It will be interesting to see if people return to the capital as they adjust to this new norm of hybrid working. “The data comes as estate agents Chestertons said it has seen a dramatic spike in competition for houses in London over recent weeks leading to a sellers’ market.Its analysis suggests there were 51 per cent more new buyers and 35 per cent more viewings than in January last year.At the same time, the number of available properties for sale has fallen by 8 per cent compared to January 2021.A report released from analysts at City Hall yesterday found London’s population is growing again as thousands who left the capital for the suburbs and the shires during the pandemic are now returning.Chestertons chief executive Guy Gittins said: “Last year, we saw many house hunters feeling left in limbo as the impact of the pandemic created a strong sense of economic uncertainty. There has been a dramatic increase in the demand for apartments and houses since then. “Seeing new buyer inquiries of this magnitude at the start of the year is remarkable. It is a strong indicator that the market will remain buoyant for at most the first half 2022. According to Chestertons London, Islington and South Kensington are in high demand with buyers.