One of the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic has been that millions of employees across the country have been working from home. Whether it’s a dedicated office or a bit of space in the spare bedroom, you have probably had to adapt to virtual meetings and the challenges of working with your family in earshot.
This move to working from home could well have a knock-on effect on the property market. Agents have already seen an increase in the number of potential buyers looking for out of town property, so could an exodus from the city be on the cards?
Covid-19 has changed the way many of us think about how we live and work. Research by Lloyds Bank has found that 57% of Brits who have worked from home during lockdown now think there is less need to live in a city, a figure that increases to 62% among those who currently live in London. The same survey found that seven in ten people wanted to work from home more often.
Estate agent Savills reports similar findings. Their latest Residential Global Market Sentiment Survey revealed that 86% of respondents expected an increase in working from home after coronavirus. Savills also found that an additional 61% of respondents anticipate a rise in the demand for rural areas.
So why are more people thinking about moving out of towns and cities?
- The commute – lockdown has taught many businesses that it is perfectly possible for staff to work remotely. With the majority of workers expecting to work from home more often after the pandemic eases, is there any need to live close to the office anymore? Do you need to live close to a railway or Tube station if you’re only going into the office on the odd occasion?
- Culture – Many choose to live in the city because of the nightlife, culture and dining options nearby. With the hospitality industry severely curtailed for the foreseeable future, is there any need to live close to nightlife in the ‘new normal’?
- Green space – In May, a survey by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) found that nearly three-quarters of people who have access to a garden, courtyard or balcony, say it has helped their mental health during lockdown. Estate agents have reported that one of the key requirements for buyers looking to move to more rural areas is that they can benefit from more outdoor space.
So, there are lots of reasons why buyers might be considering heading to the countryside. But, before you make the jump, here are four factors you should consider.
4 things to think about if you’re considering moving out of town
1. The commute
Even if you plan to work from home, there are likely to be times when you need to go into the office. While you may not need to live two minutes from the station, moving to the Highlands of Scotland could be an issue if you need to be in the City two days a week!
Think about just how long it will take you to get into the office, whether you’ll get a seat on the train, and what the car parking at the station is like.
2. The communications
Working from home requires decent broadband and a mobile phone signal. Of course, the more rural you decide to move, the poorer the internet and 4G connection you’re likely to receive.
If you’ve been living in a town you’ll be used to fast broadband, making downloading documents, video calls and streaming very easy. In the country, you could be miles from the exchange and have to share your connection with other properties.
When viewing properties, try and log on to the Wi-Fi and run a speed test if you can.
3. The facilities
You might enjoy lots of green space and peace and quiet in the countryside, but if you need to pop out for a pint of milk it could be a ten-mile drive.
If you live in a town or city, it’s easy to get accustomed to convenience. You’ll probably have shops on your doorstep, and Amazon and Ocado deliver whenever you want them to.
Remember that there are places in the country where supermarkets don’t deliver, and there may be things you can’t get at all (except perhaps online). Are you prepared to be more organised?
4. The cost of making a mistake
While the idea of living in the country may appeal, the reality doesn’t suit everyone. So, it’s worth considering how easy and/or expensive it would be if you had to sell up and return to the city.
Think about whether the house you are buying would suit someone else. Moving out of a city is also likely to be cheaper, so would you then have the money to buy a more expensive home back in an urban location?
Get in touch
If you’re thinking of swapping the city life for the country, we can help. Get in touch by email at email@example.com or call us on +44 (0) 20 3786 7270.