Photo: Steve Parsons / PA Wire
Many experts have called on Britons to work from home following the government’s Covid winter plan, and after 18 months of advice changes, many see WFH as the new normal.
With millions of people looking for larger living spaces, gardens or picturesque views, Cornerstone Tax research found that 3.3 million people have moved, choosing instead to settle away from cities or towns. urban areas.
This is reflected in housing price growth of 10.8% for homes located outside major cities, compared to just 8.9% for urban properties.
Data from Hamptons realtors also shows Londoners bought 61,380 homes outside the capital between January and June 2021, the highest number since 2006.
Research commissioned by property tax experts Cornerstone Tax has also shown, over the past year, that more than 3.3 million Britons have moved away from a city or urban area, with 44% of Britons estimating that the impact of the coronavirus has made life in a city less attractive.
This is because 24%, or 4.3 million Britons, will no longer travel to a city for work after the pandemic.
But what keeps people away from cities?
Price and space
With less travel experience, people are looking to get more living space for the same cost as cramped urban areas. An analysis by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) found that the median floor space of houses in England and Wales is 99 square meters, while the median floor space of an apartment is 43 m².
Zoopla estimates the average London property price was £ 672,051 in June 2021, with apartments in London selling for an average of £ 539,148 and townhouses for £ 727,444.
Being in nature or near the sea has many mental health benefits, and being near trees or in a forest has a proven effect on our production of cortisol, which is the chemical that causes stress. Harvard Health data shows that 20 minutes spent in nature actively reduces stress-causing cortisol, and even physical signs such as muscle tension and pulse are measurably reduced in as little as 3 to 4 minutes spent in a leafy green. surroundings.
With more space comes the possibility of a garden; previously the only option for the lucky few was to queue for years on the waiting list for an oversubscribed housing estate, but moving to a more rural area makes it increasingly likely that a garden will fit within the budget.
The effects of working from home go both ways, with more and more companies responding to the workforce’s desire to live outside cities by building regional satellite offices and shared workspaces. This effect, known as the ‘zoom shock’, has been described as bad news for cities as ridership may continue to remain low. Conversely, however, this is great news for less urban areas, as there are more people working, spending and saving outside of urban poles.
The government’s “upgrading” program has focused on the economic development of more rural areas, with policies such as free ports aimed at creating new businesses and jobs in potentially missing areas. While cities will remain essential trade and financial hubs, companies will begin to seek talent further afield.
An excellent example is “British Silicon Valley”. The eastern end of the M4 corridor is home to a surprisingly large and ever-growing number of tech companies, particularly in Berkshire, Swindon and the Thames Valley.
The lockdowns have forced many of us to find new passions and activities inside our homes; with new and old crafts and hobbies facing a major resurgence, and more baked sourdough bread than ever before. A bigger house and a garden give us more space allowing us to pursue these hobbies. According to a survey by The Healthy Work Company, 22% of those polled had adopted a new hobby in confinement, while 35% had rediscovered an old one.
Matching big cities for activities, recreation, and cultural experiences outside of the home is impossible, but small towns and surrounding areas do their best. For example, there are over 20 Michelin-starred restaurants within a 10km radius of Maidenhead, which is the highest concentration outside of London.