The UK’s housing market has undergone significant change since the beginning of the country’s lockdown. While the impact of COVID-19 upon the way we work and live is still being understood, immediate data has been produced to show exactly how the effects are transforming our preferences for a property.
Yopa, an online estate agent, has revealed that nearly a quarter of people questioned are now less interested in living in a city. Its competitor, Rightmove, also told that nearly 54% of homeowners in London are now interested to leave, a further 10% on the previous year. Property searches for rural and village homes are rising. Whether it is only a temporary shift in preference as high street businesses remain shut and employees are able to work from home is yet to be seen. However, right now, there is a certain demand for rural property.
Not only has lockdown created disillusionment with city life as much of the public spent weeks confined to small, urban apartments, but it has also relived many residents of the need to live centrally. Businesses closed their offices at the beginning of the pandemic and many remain closed, with others not intending to reopen until 2021. Workers have become remote, utilising cloud-based technology and video conferencing software to recreate the office environment online.
Previously, a person’s proximity to their place of work, the majority of which are city-based, was a key component in their property choice. Now, that geographical restriction has been swapped for a stable internet connection, more options for a home’s location are made potentially available. If an employee is required to commute less regularly, if at all, moving further away from the office has its appeal.
The experience of a lockdown has also had other effects. Living and working at home are manageable promising that a resident is able to balance their home office life with outdoor activities and escape. However, during the lockdown, this freedom was restricted, leading to many feeling confined, isolated, and unhappy. Gardens suddenly became the ultimate luxury.
Those with outdoor spaces were able to unwind, sunbathe, and escape into a small patch of the outdoors, even during a strict lockdown. Some even took building small structures outside, creating a separate space for work, putting their office inside a log cabin. They were able to enjoy the value of being outdoors while others could not. As we move forward, the lockdown is beginning to ease; however, it now seems unlikely that homeowners want to risk being without the luxury of outdoor space.
It is clear that, whereas once an outdoor space was easily compromised for a more central location, one among the hustle of city life, with the experience that a weekend escape being taken away, such an asset is no longer being taken from granted.
If you are looking for such a property, then you can expect increased competition for some time. However, if you’re hoping to sell a property, one with even a modest amount of outdoor space, you’ll likely be able to earn more from it. Having a garden is not only preferential but for many, it is now essential.