14th May 2021
The Coronavirus pandemic has prompted a shift in where people want to live, with increasing numbers leaving the city for a more spacious home in the country.
With life under lockdown exposing shortcomings like cramped home working space, lack of garden, and overcrowded public areas, city dwellers are reassessing their priorities and moving to more rural areas.
And with so many Londoners now working from home, they have been handed the freedom to move out of the city – perhaps seeking more peaceful surroundings or driven by a need to be closer to family living in the country.
As their travel and lifestyle expenses have been greatly reduced throughout the pandemic, so it has become possible for people to invest more in their homes, with larger properties in suburban or rural areas more affordable than those in the city.
Being able to afford more space both inside and out is a huge attraction, with people longing for bigger gardens, more office space, the chance to have pets, and to be closer to parks and green fields.
Data from Hamptons International estate agents has shown Londoners moving out of the capital in record numbers, buying properties an average of 40 miles outside the city – the furthest distance recorded in more than ten years. The most popular areas to buy were Sevenoaks, Windsor and Maidenhead, Oxford, and Rushmoor in Hampshire.
The stamp duty holiday was an added incentive, entitling buyers to a stamp duty tax exemption on the first £500,000 of a house purchase (a practical saving of £15,000 in tax).
Making the move to the country not only offers home workers more space to work comfortably, it responds to a growing thirst for quality of life, with green space and clean air in abundance.
People have seen lockdown as the push they needed to change their priorities – and with a new survey by Deloitte revealing 7.5m employees never want to go back to the office again, the surge of city dwellers escaping to the country may continue for a while yet.
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