A greater willingness to contemplate a move to the country may be one of the longer-lasting consequences of lockdown. Working from home – which was supposed to be a temporary arrangement - seems set to become a way of life for more employees at every level in organisations. The length of the commute to London has always been a prime consideration in the choice of a home to buy or rent. But househunters are becoming more focused on such features as garden size and space for a home office. A kitchen table tends not to be a long-term substitute for a desk.
In April, Londoners accounted for 15% of those registering at a Countrywide group branch outside London, up from 8% in March. This may not immediately increase the total numbers of those leaving London this year: the pandemic will continue to make any type of relocation a challenge. But such migration may reach a new peak in 2021 if the rural idyll continues to exercise its current attraction.
The desire to start a new life outside London last peaked in 2016 when 75,690 urbanites bought outside the capital. Subsequently, the annual average has been about 73,000.