The coronavirus pandemic has impacted all our lives in one way or another, from the way we socialise, to the way we spend, exercise and generally live our lives. When it comes to work, that is certainly the case.
While, many people are still commuting into towns and cities, a large proportion of others are now working from home, many of whom will be doing so for good. Naturally, that is having a significant impact on people’s homes.
For some it’s a case of renovation, for others they feel inspired to move to the countryside, while the economic crisis is also leading to many unfortunately having to pack up and sell up.
The property market is changing with every new decision made by the government and every month the pandemic continues. But exactly how has the rise in people working from home had its say on the market?
A Brand New Landscape
It is a new working landscape we are currently operating in. Even today, seven months after businesses made people pack up and head for home, thousands of office spaces lie empty, many of which will do for good.
Over half the population are working from home and around a third of those will be doing so indefinitely, with a further 22% doing so for as long as the pandemic is prevalent.
There’s also no real sign of that changing. Over half of workers in the UK have improved their mental health according to a study on HR News, while also being more productive than when in the office.
The study also found that 40% of people believe that their work could be carried out entirely from home. And people are preparing for that too.
More and more home offices are being developed, and when it comes to looking for a property, a rise in people searching for one. Around a fifth of people in the market are now looking for a home office when they are viewing a potential new home.
People’s Priorities Are Changing
It’s a real shift in priority, and it’s happening in a number of areas which is changing the property market considerably.
One of the major differences in priorities is location. Studies show that prior to lockdown, and the beginning of thousands working from home, people in the UK were generally willing to live no more than 23 miles from their place of work. That has changed, with surveys now suggesting people are happy to live over 50 miles from their office space.
With no need to commute, or certainly not as frequently, people are packing up from the cities and are looking to make the most of the green space the country has on offer.
Around a third of people aged 45-64 expect to move outside of London the next time they move, up 16% prior to lockdown, while the lack of overseas investors during a time when there’s less demand is also having a significant impact on London’s prime property market.
Data shows that people are seeking that greener space and that fresher air. Inquiries into rental property in Winchester, which lies an hour’s train ride outside of London has leapt by 19 times year-on-year over the summer, while estate agents in Exeter are also busy, with house-hunters in major cities looking to sample the market in Devon.
It is generally in the wealthier parts of London where people are keen to leave, in-particular the south west. The number of people looking to leave Battersea, which has a large proportion of young families, was significantly higher, as people look to raise a child in more leafier areas.
And it’s the same across the country. But not only for the avoidance of bustling city life, but also to upsize.
Around a quarter of people in Scotland are either looking to move to a larger property to accommodate working from home or making renovations to their property to cater for an office.
Alongside this is the need to be green. The pandemic has fast-forwarded the need to be more environmentally friendly, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson also reinforcing that in a recent Green Recovery Plan.
He said that all homes will be powered by wind in 10 years, but for those working from home right now, there’s the desire to be more energy efficient due to the larger amount of time we are now spending in them.
It’s estimated that fuel bills will cost people £107 more on average this winter, that’s a collective rise of almost £2billion, which is making people consider their options when it comes to buying and home improvements.
How Is The Property Market Developing
The property market is seeing a major shift in the demand for property in certain locations with rural locations in more demand than ever before.
Overall though, the property market has bounced back better than had been expected. A fifth of sellers admitted they’d received a larger amount of interest than expected, with over half being confident they’ll sell, despite the economic climate.
That’s in large part down to the Stamp Duty cuts. There’s been an 8.5% rise in buyer demand in the third quarter this year, with demand the highest it has been since the beginning of last year.
That’s great news for both buyers and sellers, and it is believed that the vast majority of areas will pick up. Aberdeen, Derry and London are among the areas of the UK which are struggling in comparison to the rest of the country in terms of demand, but that being said, prices in the capital are expected to rise by 2.5% this year.
Of course, like every industry, the property market is forever changing in what is a forever changing climate. Once life returns to some form of normality, the demand to live near your workplace will undoubtedly rise once again. Many experts are predicting that to be a matter of when, not if.
For now though, the demand to escape the city could not be higher as people seek more space, more relaxation and a much more efficient and stress-free working from home life.