Property experts have seen an increase in the number of buyers looking to leave their crowded homes in London for greater homes in the countryside, leaving new home developers to adjust to new trends and prepare for the working-from-home market.
Prospective buyers have re-evaluated their search criteria since the pandemic has created a greater opportunity for more affordable lifestyle options. Buyers who were restricted to London before Lockdown due to work commitments are now recognising new flexible working patterns with the desire to relocate to more rural areas. It seems, due to the pandemic impact, priorities are changing for buyers. Estate agent, Knight Frank, has revealed that since lockdown 45% of London-based buyers have searched for a property in the capital, compared to 62% between 1stFebruary and 23rdMarch 2020.
New working from home opportunities seems to be a major driving force behind the recent spike of activity for house purchases outside of the capital. Zoopla has recorded that 34% of buyers anticipate working from home more often and more than half of them will commute to work less, which has paved way for a new ‘homehunting’ trend to be introduced onto the market.
In turn, developers have responded positively and are adapting to creative approaches of marketing homes based on a new-founded attraction for a ‘work-from-home’ lifestyle. Developers have paid particular interest to produce marketing media which boasts light and airy home office spaces, as well as images of home owners working from their new settings which feature spacious garden scenery, promoting a glorious country lifestyle.
Buyers who have also experienced salary cuts due to the pandemic are looking to save money by moving away from London – another significant factor for driving buyers away. According to Zoopla, 94% of UK buyers have remained committed to move in the next 12 months, with 13% saying lockdown has bolstered plans to seize the opportunity and act fast.
The ‘Help to Buy’ equity loan scheme (in its current format) has allowed buyers to afford larger homes with generous outdoor space which ordinarily would have been out of their budget in London. There are currently no restrictions on regional price caps which means buyers can make the change in lifestyle their new reality today, encouraging buyers, who are able to work from home, to move away from the capital.
Helen Watts, Director, has commented: “At JWDS, we offer a comprehensive appointment procedure that once you have been financially pre-qualified you can come and spend time with us looking at suitable new homes to match both your purchasing needs and budget criteria.”
The increase in enquiries during lockdown alone was unprecedented, yet it’s fascinating to see property trends have continued as the lockdown has eased, establishing a change of dynamics within the property market for the foreseeable future.