The rural retreat is beginning to displace the suburban idyll, as urbanites seek more living space and a larger garden. This trend became immediately apparent when the property market reopened in May after its lockdown freeze. Between May and September, 31% of Londoners waving goodbye to the capital chose to relocate to the country - wishing to escape the confinement they had felt in lockdown. In the first quarter in the year, 27% opted for a new life in the country. Suburbs and towns were thedestination of 68% of the people who were moving out of London at the start of the year. This fell to 63% between May and September, as a switch in preferences drove leavers to more rural locations.
As many as 83% of the respondents to the latest RICS survey expect increasing demand over the next two years for houses with gardens. Such is the desire already for outdoor space in a country setting that people will spend 13% more on such a property than they have raised from the sale of a London home. Pre-pandemic, they paid 5% less than they received from selling up in the city. Households who are remaining in the centre of the capital – some people still love the bright lights - are spending 12% more on a property. Whereas those Londoners leaving the capital for a smaller town spent an average of 9% more on their next home.
The willingness of people moving, even within the centre of London, to pay more for a property underlines the growing requirement for space, a need driven by home working.