Out-of-town homes and flexible working schedules - Our client Hamptons looks at how lockdown has caused many people to reconsider their housing needs.
Lockdown has seen many people reconsidering their housing needs – and employers reevaluating their centrally-located city offices. As the recent U-turn on returning to the office suggests, the work-life balance continues to look very different for many professionals, driving prospective homebuyers to seek more space.
Transport links and proximity to the office are becoming less important considerations for those looking to relocate. Instead, a speedy broadband connection and a comfortable work from home set up are top priorities, along with green spaces and walkable town centres.
Meanwhile, the added risks from coronavirus mean employers are more open to flexible schedules to help commuters avoid travelling during peak hours, making the journey into town quicker and easier. Working from home has also proven a feasible reality for many who may otherwise have been reluctant to adopt the remote working trend.
Employers are more open to flexible schedules to help commuters avoid travelling during peak hours, making the journey into town quicker and easier. Working from home has also proven a feasible reality for many who may otherwise have been reluctant to adopt the remote working trend.
All this makes spacious commuter towns eminently more desirable – backed up by data on online searches from Google* showing an increase in search activity for property-related terms in popular surburban locations within driving distance of city centres.
The cathedral city of St Albans, for example, saw an increase in property searches in September of 60% when compared to the same period of last year, while the spa town of Bath saw a similar rise at 59%, and the popular seaside towns of Brighton & Hove saw an increase of 36%.
This rise in interest isn’t just idle internet daydreaming, either – Hamptons have seen a sharp surge in the number of Londoners registering with their regional offices in August this year when compared to 2019. For instance, St Albans has seen a 77% increase and Bath a 97% increase, while the numbers for Brighton & Hove have gone up a staggering 141%.
All this suggests that changing circumstances mean changing priorities for city-dwellers – and many are considering that a new country home may be the perfect place to ride out whatever comes next.
While the future continues to look uncertain, property owners in popular commuter towns just might find a silver lining in seeing their property values rise.
Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash