As the UK emerges from a year of lockdowns and establishes a ‘new normal’, the social and economic repercussions are evident. The property industry was one of the sectors heavily impacted by the pandemic and it is only just beginning to recover. Many businesses, including Britannia Movers, have had to transform operations to follow covid regulations to keep staff and customers safe.
Whilst businesses have adapted, it is now homeowners that are changing property market trends. It is no secret that time spent in lockdown altered the criteria for many of those house hunting. Home offices and large gardens have fast become the most desirable elements for those searching for a new home. In fact, much of the property market’s action in Q1 and Q2 of 2021 has been homeowners selling up to find a property that much better suits their new lifestyle post pandemic.
Are Londoners leaving the capital?
Last year, the Office for National Statistics reported that 5,470 people left London for life in Devon. Torquay, Plymouth, and Exeter have all seen a hike in the number of ex-Londoners leaving city life. Research from Hamptons International revealed that house-hunters from London that were looking for a home outside the capital rose from 8% in March 2020 to 15% in the April.
Many Londoners sold up, realising that their money would be better spent in Devon, even with commuting costs on top for those who still needed to visit the city for work. A life by the coast, in a bigger property, with a dedicated home office and a spacious garden…who can blame them.
However, it is not just London that has seen an exodus of city dwellers. Rightmove reported that the interest in moving from a major UK city to a rural location rose by 126% year on year, and 68% for those looking for a quiter life in a town. They discovered that, as well as London, homeowners in Edinburgh, Birmingham, Sheffield, and Glasgow were some of the keenest to move outside of their city.
Has working from home had an impact on the property market?
Throughout the past year the government advised people to work from home if feasible. It is estimated that around 50% of the UK workforce has been working remotely. Whilst working from home was only ever intended as a temporary measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus, employers and employees alike recognised the increase in work life balance. Due to the unforeseen benefits of remote working, it is now the new way of operating for many businesses throughout the UK.
The significant shift in the way many people work in response to the pandemic has opened up a new wave of possibilities for those doing so. With many companies operating completely remotely, many employees now do not need to commute, allowing them to move anywhere they want. Many have upped sticks already, seeking more affordable homes away from the big cities.
What do people want in a new property?
Cities typically offer flat or apartment living. Since the beginning of 2020 there has been a huge decline in the number of buyers seeking this style of home and many sellers have had to drop their asking price. London house values even fell 0.5% in Q2 of 2020.
With city dwellers having spent months working at a kitchen table in a cramped apartment it’s easy to see why the need for more internal and external space is paramount for many buyers. The chain reaction of the pandemic and remote working has made homeowners completely revaluate what they want from their home environment.
In a survey conducted by First Mortgage, 86% of Brits stated that having a garden in a future property is important, whilst 45% responded that lockdown has increased the importance of a nearby park or green space.
Rightmove paints a similar picture. Property search survey results highlighted that 63% of people want a bigger garden, 43% want a larger home and 36% want a better home workspace. Are people moving out of cities? Data revealed that 30% of respondents want to live in a rural area.
What are the benefits of moving out of a city?
Being close to work and the social element are two aspects of city living that many enjoy. However, there are several advantages to a rural way of life:
- Green spaces and the countryside or coast on your doorstep
- Cheaper properties and more for your money
- Potential for a healthier lifestyle
- Greater work life balance
- Less crowded
- Better air quality
- Local restaurants, pubs, sports teams to enjoy
If you’re considering relocating from the city you currently live in, we understand that there is a lot to consider. However, should you find the home of your dreams, Britannia Movers is here to help you with a stress-free move. As the UK’s leading removals company we can create a bespoke plan to help you move from the city to start a new way of life. You can get a free removals quote online today or get in touch on 0845 600 661 to talk to one of our friendly team members, to start planning your move.