City living has definitely lost its appeal to many living in the capital and other major cities around the UK. Lockdown has thrown up its own set of problems, and at its peak the Coronavirus left many families unable to get any access to the outdoors, apart from their 1 hour of exercise per day. With 21% of Londoners having no garden, and rental prices at a premium, it’s no wonder that more urban locations and country living are on the radar of city dwellers.
The trend in relocating is nothing new; the 1665 Great Plague saw those that could afford to, flee London, and even parliament moved to Oxford at the time. And in more recent times, the London bombings in 2005 saw a spike in interest in rural locations. Although these moves have been largely temporary, the post COVID world may be a different place altogether.
Lockdown has proven for many employers that workforces can be just as effective working from home. Technology has offered tools that have never been available before. Employers and employees alike have gotten into a rhythm whereby they can attend meetings virtually and produce work from home, rendering the need for office space (and the pricey overhead that goes with it) effectively redundant.
With families having reassessed their wants and needs during lockdown, city living no longer appeals to many of them. So what will this mean for the housing market in more rural areas?
With a sharp boom in activity within the construction industry as lockdown eased a few weeks ago, housebuilders and developers should be busier than ever. Sadly, the rate of construction job cuts increased during July despite the industry’s rise in output.
House building was the main growth driver in July, which also saw a sharp rise in construction orders. But where confidence in the economy has taken a nosedive, clients are declining to commit to new projects. Construction firms have battled to catch up with pre-Coronavirus projects, but the competition for the purchase of raw materials has resulted in higher costs, the knock on effect being redundancies.
The escape to the country may just be a pipe dream for some, as housing developments could take longer to recover than anticipated.
The true strength of the economy isn’t likely to be known until the end of the furlough scheme in the Autumn. This may put a different light on the subject for those would-be relocators!
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