COVID has changed the type of property people are buying or moving to. With the desire for more outside space and a home office space, more broken plan as opposed to open plan. But, is the same change in property aspiration also happening in regard to location?
We all know that when buying a house it is location that is usually at the top of everyone’s priority list, hence the term ‘Location Location Location’. But is this location importance now more rural rather than city?
What do we want from our home in 2021?
Working from home with a laptop in your bedroom or at the kitchen table makes people realise that maybe their home is no longer working for them. It’s OK for occasional home working, but more long term working has proven to be difficult this past year for some.
The lack of inside space, together with the cost of moving has often meant people improve rather than move, extending their homes to get the maximum space, extending into lofts and gardens for an extra bedroom or living space. However, this cannot expand your outside space and may not give you all the space you need in the current COVID situation.
Lack of space often leads to a decision to move to somewhere bigger, but this is expensive, with detached homes being the ultimate property type desired, but with higher demand, comes higher prices. According to Which a 10% price increase in 2020 for detached properties, this may mean stretching the budget even further.
Of course the stamp duty holiday may have helped accelerate moves, saving buyers a maximum £15000 for properties up to a value of £500K.
One way to keep the cost down of buying a bigger home is to move somewhere more affordable, but where to?
Where to move to?
Working remotely means more freedom of location, and it is expected that once the pandemic is over, this could be the new normal, with more people working remotely on a more permanent basis whether full-time, part-time or more flexibly.
Buyers are now looking for quality of life rather than a shorter commute, for those whose lives are in London, the moves are from city to suburbs, with the social aspect of living in the city no longer in evidence. Renters are reviewing their options and moving further out of London where the rents are cheaper.
The pandemic has increased demand for rural properties over city, buyers craving more space, outside space and easy access to countryside space.
A recent Rightmove study has shown that the top 10 locations searched has changed, as people bring their long-term ‘escape to the country’ or ‘forever home’ plans forward. Cornwall has overtaken London as the most searched for place for homebuyers.
Although in lockdown, foreign travel is forbidden, that does not stop buyers searching for overseas properties, with Spain still being one of the top locations to move to.
How to find the best place to live
Moving to a new area is a big decision and can be daunting if you don’t know the area very well, so it’s a good idea to do some research, and make a list of what’s important to help you decide what you are looking for and have an action plan for the short list of areas and consider the following:
- Affordability – can you afford what you ideally want in a property in the area?
- Decide your priorities – do you need to be near a school, hospital, airport, train station, shops?
- Transport links – do you need to get a bus or train, is there a motorway or A road for when you do need to travel?
- Commute time – how long will it take for you to get to where you need to go?
- Proximity to friends and family – do you know anyone in the area or within easy travelling distance?
- Nearby Schools and catchment areas – do you need to be near a school?
- Traffic at different times of the day – study the traffic at weekends and rush hours.
- Air quality – is there anything that may impact the air quality, nearby industry or busy roads?
- Neighbours – meet the neighbours, what do they say about the area?
- Flood risks – is there a river nearby that is known to flood?
- Crime rates – what are the crime rates like (check www.ukcrimestats.com or www.checkmystreet.co.uk)?
- Broadband speed – check local broadband connectivity and if fibre is available in the area.
- Spend time in the area – visit the area regularly at different times, go shopping, go for walks.
- Demographic and culture – is it mostly families or retired couples in the area, which suits your needs best?
- Once you have decided on the area, study the market – use sites such as Rightmove, Zoopla or On the market.
How to move during the covid pandemic safely
Once you have found your ideal location and property get in touch with your local Britannia branch, you can download our app which has been specially developed to provide COVID safe removal surveys by video and help make your move easy.