Are you planning to move this year? If so, you’re not alone! According to research published by a property developer last week, despite the prospect of the Stamp Duty holiday tapering off in a few month's time, millions of us are now dreaming of a new home. The report, carried out earlier this month by Roma Capital among 2000 households, says this potential mass-migration is being driven by the trend for more flexible working arrangements in the wake of the pandemic.
As the researchers point out, this is a staggering increase. In previous years, between 4% to 5% of us have typically moved house, so basing the future ambitions of the whole country on such a small sample of people seems a little disingenuous. However, the pandemic is undoubtedly driving change in the housing market.
Together with the stamp duty holiday and the start of the Government-backed scheme to encourage lenders to offer loans with smaller deposits, the homebuying climate is becoming more favourable for some homebuyers. However, the first of these incentives is due to come to an end in September and the second will likely be rolled out in tandem with higher interest rates for those signing up to the scheme. Nor is there any guarantee that millions of us will either want, or be able, to continue to work remotely once the pandemic has been brought under control.
That said, after three consecutive lockdowns, many of us are more than ready for a change of scene. Roma Capital’s research reveals that better quality of life is the motivator for 29% of people who they surveyed. The ability to combine working from home and in the office in a hybrid working environment influenced more than a quarter of respondents (26%) to consider relocation. And finding a better job was also a strong driver.
Living near water or green space and ‘community feel’ now seem to be trumping the amenities available to city dwellers. This is hardly surprising with the country largely closed for a year, with virtually no access to the job opportunities, hospitality and entertainment that give urban areas their appeal in normal times. However, the majority of those businesses will reopen and, particularly for younger people looking for friends, fun and easy access to employment, it is highly debatable whether urban areas will really lose their appeal longer term.
Author : Maryanne Bowring
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