Escape to the country? Rise in buyers leaving London for Home Counties

Escape to the country! Buyers are leaving London for neighbouring counties in search of a spare room and outdoor space after lockdown in properties that give them more for their money

  • Londoners are quitting the capital for more spacious homes in the country 
  • One developer has seen a 20% post-lockdown spike compared to last year’s total
  • Real estate agent Knight Frank has seen a rise in Londoners looking to leave 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

There is a rise Londoners quitting the capital for more spacious homes in the country following the easing of lockdown restrictions, industry experts have revealed. 

Property developers and estate agents have both seen an increase in the number of buyers looking to leave their cramped homes in the capital for larger properties – and, crucially, outdoor space – in neighbouring counties. 

There are a number of factors driving this shift including the rise of flexible working in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and a renewed desire for space after spending months in lockdown. 

Other buyers are looking to save money by moving out of the capital as they face salary cuts amid the crisis. 

CHOBHAM, SURREY: There is a rise Londoners quitting the capital for more spacious homes in the country following the easing of lockdown restrictions, industry experts have revealed. Knight Frank recently sold a property in the Rosebank development in Chobham, Surrey, to a buyer leaving London. Pictured, a house in the development on the market for £1,575,000  

MARLOW, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: Savills said it has seen a spike in interest in Home Counties properties post-lockdown. Among the homes tempting Londoners to the countryside is this stunning four-bedroom home which is on the market for £2,995,000 

Speaking to FEMAIL, Jonathan Lewis, group sales and marketing director at property developer Weston Homes, reported a 20 per cent increase in the number of buyers wishing to relocate from London to the Home Counties in the last eight weeks compared to the total number for 2019.

Meanwhile Knight Frank data reveals a drop in the number of potential buyers who want to stay in London. At the same time there has been a 12 per cent increase in the number of Londoners looking to move to the South West compared to pre-lockdown figures and a 5 per cent increase in the number looking to move to the South East. 

Laura Hackney, South East New Homes Partner at Knight Frank: ‘Buyers are emerging from lockdown and realising the old way of working is over. The daily grind and commute to and from the office will become a thing of the past. Having had the opportunity to work from home and spend more time with family will cause many people to really evaluate their current set up. 

ENGLEFIELD GREEN, SURREY: Knight Frank data reveals a drop in the number of potential buyers who want to stay in London. The estate agents shared a case study of one family from London bought a home on the private Magna Carta Park estate because they were looking for more space. Pictured, the stunning property, which had a guide price of £4.5million

‘We’ve had a significant number of enquiries from Londoners looking to move to the Home Counties, where they can still commute when needed whilst also enjoying the benefits that areas such as Guildford, Windsor and Cobham offer.’

Mark Hayward, chief executive NAEA Propertymark, agreed:  ‘We’ve already seen an unparalleled increase in demand from those looking to relocate to more rural areas. ‘Many people currently living in urban and city areas have reconsidered their lifestyle during lockdown and are now reprioritising how and where they want to live, especially with working from home becoming the new normal.’

Nick Ingle, Head of Residential Sales, Savills Harpenden, added: ‘We have been busier in the Home Counties than we could have ever expected post-lockdown, for both rural homes and those in town. 

‘Interestingly, we have agreed a couple of deals since lockdown where the buyers, pre-lockdown, would not have considered buying in the countryside as their emphasis was getting to a train station regularly and without complication. 

‘Post lockdown, their search criteria has changed and with an emphasis on home working, they have viewed homes in the countryside, fallen in love with them and had offers accepted, realising they now only need to drive to the train station once a week. The importance of the mainline station, for some, has not been part of the search criteria as much as it might have been previously. ‘

Commenting on the need to save money, Holly Herbert at Oh Consult said: ‘Living in the countryside is almost always cheaper, especially when compared to London prices, so we saw lots of people coming to us looking to sell up and move to a cheaper area to avoid falling into financial struggles through the pandemic.’

Developers and architects are reacting quickly to this change in priorities by looking at ways to add space for a home office and placing emphasis on outdoor space.   

LITTLE MILTON, OXFORD: Properties in other neighbouring counties are also seeing interest, including this beautiful four-bedroom country home which is on the market for £775,000

Tim Traynor, residential development land associate at Knight Frank added: ‘We’re seeing housebuilders respond to this by adapting the configuration of certain plots in order to accommodate an extra bedroom, which could be utilised as a home office.’

Knight Frank provided one unnamed case study of a family who are leaving London for an upmarket private estate in Egham, Surrey. A four-bedroom home in Magna Carta Park, which boasts its own swimming pool, library and tennis courts, costs £3.4million. 

The family was seeking ‘more space, greenery and proximity to the countryside while still being within commuting distance of the capital’. 

Weston Homes reported increased interest in two property complexes in Dartford, Kent, which feature private gardens, terraces and balconies. 

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