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What’s influenced Outer London Prime Property buyer behaviour in 2020?

The rush for outer London Prime Property

2020 has had a significant effect on most people’s lifestyles. Similarly, attitudes towards buying property have changed too. Below is a review of Outer London Prime Property and the trends impacting buyer behaviour.

Research conducted by Knight Frank and Savills have sited that the effect of COVID-19 and lockdown in the UK has dramatically and permanently shifted the desires of property buyers. Throughout these uncertain times, CapitalRise has tracked the movement of the market, preference in Property location and the emerging trends which have seen a growth in investor and developer appetite. 

COVID-19 kicked off the rise of homeworking, and as such, the common denominator across buyer trends is the want for more space – both indoor and outdoor. Those in flats longed for gardens, and inner-city residents craved countryside. With world-renowned bars and restaurants in central London closed during the lockdown, city-dwellers were confined to often smaller spaces, typically popular for their location. Since the property market reopened in May, demand for outdoor space or a home in the country is unsurprisingly soaring. 

Growing demands for properties with gardens

In August, a survey conducted by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that the value of homes with gardens is at an all-time high. 83% of surveyors are anticipating the increased demand for gardens will extend into the next two years. Properties that have private outside space rather than communal gardens or courtyards are also anticipated to be particularly popular.

Rightmove reported that searches for houses with gardens were up 42% in August 2020 compared with May 2019. Data from Savills supports this, in the second quarter of 2020 there was a 97% increase in requests for a property with a garden. The ‘greener’ areas of London such as Richmond were quick to rebound, responding to the green space demand. 

The search for more space

When the housing market reopened, a Savills survey identified a significant increase in demand for Prime Country property, such as what can be found in the Home Counties. Backed up by levels of buyer enquiries, viewings and offers, the Prime Country market has rebounded dramatically as buyers seek more outdoor space and additional rooms for home offices. According to market analysts things such as proximity to the train station or length of a daily commute are becoming less important due to the level of workers staying home. Around 60% of the UK workforce moved to home working during the lockdown and since restrictions have lifted in places, many still wish to stay at home. In a survey of workers, more than half said they would like to work from home, and 52% said they did not want to return to a normal office set up. 

Outer London and Home Counties property

Prime Outer London continues to grow in popularity; in June high-end countryside properties valued at £5million and above recorded the strongest growth of any property type. During the second quarter of 2020, growth of 1.2% was recorded in the high-value country house market, despite the market being closed between March and mid-May. For houses priced between £5million to £10 million, the level of offers accepted was 182% higher than the five-year average.

It seems the new rush to the country is not unique to London, in June the New York Post claimed ‘Manhattanites’ were ‘frantically’ moving to the suburbs, purchasing properties that were previously empty.  However, while the country market grows in popularity, with buyer’s priorities shifting, this is not completely to the detriment of the Central London market. Research from Knight Frank found that property prices in Prime Central London were up 0.3% in August. Dexters estate agents also commented that “The Prime Central London (PCL) property market is the busiest it has been for over five years”.

Nick Oakley, Head of Lending at CapitalRise commented “it was somewhat predictable that initial surveys indicate a desire to move into or towards the countryside, having been in lockdown for a good number of months people are becoming fidgety when living in the city. However what doesn’t change overnight is peoples’ own infrastructure and support networks.  The true litmus test will be the surveys being undertaken today, now the schools are back, older children have returned to university and people are beginning to find a new balance of working from home as well as the office.”

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