Where people would like to live in the future has been changed by the coronavirus outbreak, it has been claimed.
We crave bigger homes and prize open green space and gardens more than before, according to a new survey by estate agents Savills, perhaps unsurprisingly after 45 days and counting at home during the coronavirus lockdown.
In particular, village locations in the British countryside have become so desirable that 40 per cent of house hunters say this is the type of area they would now like to live in – shifting focus away from traditional favourites, such as walking distance to the station.
For many this will mean getting more space for the same amount of money, but even with homes tending to be cheaper out of cities and an expectation that house prices will fall, homes like the five dream properties we have picked with Savills’ help will remain just a dream for most.
Buyers crave large private outdoor spaces during lockdown, such as the one found at this Berkshire home. However, with a £10million price tag for this property, most will need to set their sights lower that this dream property
The Berkshire mansion for sale with Savills is a mile from Maidenhead station and so manages to tick the box of walking distance to catch the train and lots of land
Those looking for a move out of the city are expecting to get more for their money after lockdown. More than half of the home owners quizzed by Savills said they thought house prices would fall and that they would have less to spend on a new home, with expectations of a 10 per cent decline in property values.
Its survey said that 71 per cent of younger buyers crave more outdoor space and rural locations, while older home owners are more committed to downsizing.
The findings also suggested that 39 per cent of those aged under 50 now want a bigger home.
‘Everyone is spending more time at home and are realising they need more space,’ explained Savills’ Frances Clacy.
For some, this would mean moving away from the city where their office is based, and having a longer commute. But widespread working from home during lockdown has somewhat changed the perception of how viable this is, says the estate agent, with more people believing they could move further out.
This seven-bed house in Pulborough, West Sussex, has plenty of space outdoors and indoors but again that comes at a price – a cool £3,695,000 for this slice of country living
Open interiors: The stunning Pulborough house is for sale with Savills, which released a report suggesting more buyers are now craving an escape to the country
By moving out of town, buyers are likely to be able to afford more space as prices tend to be lower.
The average price of a property in London is £671,989, compared to less than half that amount at £319,967 for the country as a whole, according to property website Zoopla.
Commuters say they would be prepared to consider such a move, nearer to the countryside, even if they couldn’t work from home. Savills said that as many as one in six say they are now ready for a longer commute.
Some things won’t change, however, and schooling remains an issue. A village location could potentially be an problem for parents concerned about getting their children into local secondary schools, as many base admissions criteria on distance.
However, this didn’t stop 54 per cent of survey respondents with school age children saying that they now find the idea of a countryside location more attractive than before the lockdown.
‘Greater space has become a prerequisite for those anticipating increased home working and those with children,’ added Ms Clacy.
‘More outdoor space and access to countryside are also likely to be of greater importance to parents looking for a new home.’
This seven-bed house in Linton, Cambridgeshire, sits in gardens of more than an acre and is for sale at £2,295,000, via Savills. The village is on the Cambridgeshire and Essex border and is only a short distance from employment in Cambridge and the much-loved market town of Saffron Walden
The Linton house has a one-bedroom annexe and manages to combine beautiful gardens with the River Granta running through the grounds. The Queen Anne Grade II Listed mansion has 7,500 square feet of accommodation
Savills surveyed almost 700 buyers and sellers amid the lockdown, between April 21 and 27, to see how attitudes to moving are changing.
Buyers’ choices are not only being affected by the size of the property and its location. The amount of time spent in lockdown is also changing how much buyers are willing to spend on a new home.
Just over half said they believe their home will have fallen in value, while a similar number also said they would now be willing to pay a lower amount for a property to move to.
Expectations were for prices to fall by 10 per cent or less and a surprising number expected resilience with 45 per cent saying they do not expect the selling price of their existing home to have changed as a result of the virus. While 44 per cent said the amount they are willing to spend on a new property will not change.
Of those questioned, 20 per cent of respondents felt that their budget to buy a new home might fall by more than 10 per cent. A small optimistic cohort of 5 per cent said they believe the value of their home could have risen.
Savills’ Lucian Cook added: ‘This suggests there is likely to be some downward pressure on pricing in the short term, coupled with a period of much lower activity.
‘Reassuringly, the survey suggests that buyers and sellers broadly agree on how they believe the lockdown has impacted values, and this alignment should help underpin the recovery as we come out of lockdown and buyer caution begins to lift.’
Time outside: This four-bed house in Marlow, Buckinghamshire has a large landscaped garden and a £2,995,000 price tag and while it looks like a country house and has landscaped gardens it is actually in the town itself
The Marlow property offers plenty of space or eating outside with the family surrounded by the green gardens and is a short walk from the River Thames and the beautiful English countryside in the area around Marlow, Hambleden and Henley
Property website Rightmove also reported recently that a growing number of potential buyers wanted to ditch big cities like London, Birmingham or Edinburgh for more rural locations.
At this point a year ago, just over 40 per cent of Londoners getting in touch with estate agents were looking to move outside the capital. Since lockdown, this figure has risen to 51 per cent, according to Rightmove’s latest findings.
There seems to be a similar trend growing in Edinburgh, where 60 per cent of residents are now looking to move outside the city, up from 53 per cent at the same time a year ago.
A similar picture is also emerging in Birmingham, where half of residents looking to buy a new home are now looking outside of the city, up from around 45 per cent at the same point last year.
Cities like Liverpool, Sheffield, Glasgow and Bristol are starting to see the same pattern emerge.
This eight-bed period house in Holloway, Derbyshire, sits in an impressive eight acres of land. It is a Grade II Arts and Crafts house for sale with Savills for £1,950,000. A separate two-bedroom property in the grounds is also available, but buyers will have to pay extra to secure that too
The house in Holloway has some magnificent interiors, including this grand fireplace, in addition to formal garden areas, a wildflower meadow area and parkland and paddocks