COVID-19 has changed our outlook on life in so many ways. One of the most significant changes in attitude is towards our own homes. Research from Lawsure Insurance has highlighted just how Londoners have reacted to the pandemic, the changing trends when it comes to home buying for those who live within the city.
It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that London house prices are still souring and the city remains one of the most expensive places to live in the world. The average house price in London currently stands at just under £600,000. When considering that the majority of London properties are smaller than the rest of the UK, it’s no wonder residents are wanting a change.
Homebuyers living in London are now seeking more from their purchases. Previous to lockdown, it was the ease of the morning commute that was a top priority for most. Now that working from home is more common than ever before, Londoners are changing their priority during the house hunt.
Now that the commute is removed, people are moving away from the city and not just to surrounding areas. Large numbers of businesses are now hiring and operating completely remotely, meaning London residents are getting much more for their money in their new homes.
We Need Gardens
In London, you are considered lucky to have a few square feet of the patio to yourself and the idea of a garden large enough to relax in was reserved for those with extreme wealth.
Months of being confined to our own homes have made Londoners realise the true value of private outdoor spaces. Many Londoners spent days of lockdown with no fresh air or natural light and have decided that this scenario is not worth risking again.
That’s why 63% of homebuyers from Lawsure’s research stated that a larger outdoor space is their top priority when looking for a new home purchase. 19% of Londoners state the same.
Inside Space Matters
Even a single occupant can run out of space in their own homes and can feel claustrophobic when spending the majority of their lives within the same walls.
What’re more, families who dealt with lockdown and homeschooling have recognised the importance of personal, private space for every member of the family.
That’s why 43% of homebuyers are moving so they can have an overall bigger home. With space for working and separate spaces to relax and unwind in. 17% of those in London are wanting to move just so they can have more indoor space.
The Car Needs a Home Too
If you are living in London and have a safe and secure parking space, it has probably come at an astronomical cost. Our cars are seeing less action, which means they need a safe place to be parked throughout the day.
Not only does private parking spaces and garages mean we are guaranteed a place to park, but it can even lower the cost of car insurance. Especially if the car is spending substantial amounts of time there.
36% of homebuyers now see a private parking area as the most important aspect when it comes to putting an offer on a property.
The initial weeks of lockdown saw creative home set-ups to accommodate the seemingly temporary, working from the home period. From kitchen tables, ironing boards and even garden benches, we adapted quickly.
Now we need something more permanent. Space away from family life with a comfy chair to sit at for upwards of 8 hours a day. The need for a home office is growing and no longer reserved for the self-employed.
36% of homebuyers are moving so they can create their own home office space, 12% of which are from London.
Being Closer to Nature
Foreign holidays have been off the cards for some time now. 2020 saw months of travel restrictions and the public having to seek entertainment closer to home.
However, with attractions closed or operating at a reduced capacity for over a year now, we are looking for something different.
Nature reserves, outdoor parks, hiking trails and similar areas have never been so popular among the British. But those living in London are restricted when it comes to these kinds of areas in the capital.
Team this with most parks being extremely overcrowded on sunny days, despite social distancing restrictions, Londoners have had enough.
14% of city dwellers want to move closer to greener spaces, to entertain the kids, walk the dog or simply enjoy the fresh air and nature, without the crowds of people. 31% of house hunters overall want a home closer to natural beauty.
The last 15 months have seen a real shift in home buying. From growing families are more ‘lockdown babies’ are born and ‘pandemic puppies’ being purchased, leading to the need for a garden growing.
With the current market trends, it looks like the new ways of working and living will be with us for a while. While London house prices continue to grow, it begs the question, how long will the market be like this within the capital as increasing numbers are moving away and prioritising their dwellings over the location to their jobs?