Expensive city living is no longer the essential thing it once was for those employed by city- based organisations, businesses and institutions. Improved communications technology and to some extent, road and rail connections, has meant that in recent years, we have seen a migration to the country, provincial towns and villages; places deemed unfashionable in times gone by.
The trend to work from home has been increasing for a number of years. This has been made possible by ever increasing technology to include ‘the cloud,’ email, online meetings and smart phones. To give you an indication, migration from London already stood at 30,000 in a pre - Covid Pandemic 2019. It is understood that now - 38% of Londoners are apparently reconsidering where they live. Obviously, it is very much a similar story for the other major, commercial UK cities where property values are high.
The Covid Pandemic has helped to drive the ‘working from home trend’ along with the wish for a bigger property, to facilitate a home office and a larger outside space. This has been additionally fuelled by the stamp duty holiday and attractive mortgage interest rates.
Many businesses, that have been forced into allowing staff to work from home due to the pandemic, have realised that their workforce is just as effective (in some instances – more so). Furthermore, the reduction of large city centre office overheads is an attractive proposition. A recent survey by the IOD (Institute of Directors) showed that 74% of business plan on increasing the number of their staff working from home. Another survey showed that 44% of bosses thought that working from home was proving more effective.
Homeowners have woken up to the reality that they can buy a bigger home for their money, outside of the city, giving them all the space they require for a home office, a much larger garden and a happier, healthier lifestyle devoid of all the time wasted with the daily office commute. This has an obvious - positive environmental impact too which is an increasingly important consideration for many people.
Estate agent’s ‘Hamptons’ have seen a significant increase in city dwellers relocating to more spacious properties in market towns, villages and the countryside with their 2020 data showing the fiscal advantages. The average price of a property in a city location was £419,300 compared to £236, 330 for a countryside residence and £228,000 for a town / suburb property; savings of well over 40%. However, things are quickly changing quickly with demand fuelling out of city property prices.
‘Savills’ estate agents said that homes in the country had risen by 5.5% in 2020 and coastal properties 5.6%; the strongest performance for 10 years. Credence is given to this by ‘Coulters Property.’ Its 2021 Rural Property Report states that house prices in rural areas have risen by an average, across the country, of 20.8% in the last five years. However, this increase is ‘conservative’ when compared to some rural areas.
Rural areas, that have seen the strongest increase in demand and property values are Harborough in Leicestershire, East Northamptonshire and Rutland in the East Midlands. Other hotspots include Mendip, Swale, Staffordshire Moorlands, Derbyshire Dales and the Forest of Dean. All these areas have seen increases in property values in excess of 30% in the last 5 years.
Those still contemplating a move to the country need to act fast!