London has seen some big changes since March 2020. Besides the obvious lockdowns and lengthy closures of the Westend and tourist attractions, let’s look at how Londoner’s homes are changing.
The capital is a hub for those working in the city. Those who want to reduce commuting time and live closer to the office make up a large portion of those living in London. But now that working from home is becoming a permanent fixture in many businesses, where you live and where you work don’t need to be the same anymore.
The pandemic has led to us all rethinking our priorities and it seems many Londoners decided to leave city life for good. The SDLT holidays saw increasing numbers of buyers deciding now is the time to move.
While buyers push to get their purchases through, utilising no search indemnity insurance to bypass waiting times, there are others who have lost loved ones but are using inheritance to make that ideal move away from London with the use of wills and probate insurance.
Of all homes purchased outside of London in 2020, 7.5% were done so by those moving out of the capital. Sevenoaks witnessed the largest share, with 62% of properties sold to Londoners. Other popular areas included Windsor, Maidenhead, Oxford and Rushmoor.
We take a look at what people are looking for in their move away from England’s capital.
1. Bigger Garden
When lockdown was first announced and we were confined to our homes, aside from once a day to exercise, the importance of a private garden was quickly highlighted. Whether it’s space to tire out the kids while homeschooling or simply a place to get some fresh air and sunlight without disobeying the rules, gardens have been a saviour for many.
London properties are infamous for lack of garden space. Homeowners in London are considered lucky to have just a few square feet, let alone space to actually run around or entertain.
Of all properties purchased in 2020, 63% of buyers stated a larger garden was their top priority. 19% of Londoners declared this is the most important aspect of their new home.
2. Bigger Home
We always need more space from our homes, but with entire families spending so much time inside, the need for this was highlighted in 2020. Without being able to escape into public spaces, increasing numbers of people decided to make the move from London to other areas and get more space for the money.
18% of Londoners seeking a new home said that a bigger floor plan was at the top of their list. 43% of all homebuyers made the move because of this need.
3. Car Parking Space
Most car drivers use their vehicles to get to work, but with commuting no longer a regular occurrence, our cars are seeing less action. While Londoners may be saving on petrol, the battle for parking space on their road has begun.
Having a private parking space or garage not only removes the hassle of searching for somewhere to park but also increases the security of the vehicle and can even reduce insurance costs.
That’s why 36% of 2020 home buyers were looking for a private parking space and considered it the most crucial factor in their decision.
4. Home Office
When the first three-week lockdown was announced, we all had to become creative with our working from home space. From kitchen tables to ironing boards, any surface available became our new office.
Over a year later, we have all begun to realise that these makeshift desks and spaces aren’t viable. That’s why 12% of Londoners moving from the city are looking for a home office above anything else.
A whopping 36% of all homebuyers stated the reason for their move in 2020 was to gain this space.
5. Closer To Outdoor Space
With foreign holidays off the cards for a while and entertainment spaces closed or operating at a limited capacity, we are having to find new ways to entertain ourselves.
Outdoor spaces, such as beaches, woodland and national parks have been incredibly popular across the UK over the past year. While London does have some of these spaces, they are notoriously crowded during nice weather. That relaxing day out can soon turn into a nightmare while trying to social distance.
Londoners making the move outside of the city are seeking areas that have outdoor space close by. 14% stated that this was their main reason for making the move. 31% of the total homebuyers were seeking this as well.
No one will be surprised by the fact that wanting all these factors in a London property will probably be out of the price range of most homebuyers. Moving outside of the capital will get you more for your money.
Working from home means that people are more likely to be able to afford what they want, without having to worry about a long commute to their London office.