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a new house by the sea, to work from home?

Early signals could indicate a shift in homebuyer sentiment - away from wanting to live closer to the office, in cities and large towns - to the coast and countryside.

Once lockdown was lifted for the real estate industry on the 13th of May, Rightmove - the UK’s largest online property portal - reported their largest volume of online searches ever, recording six million visits to its website on 27th May, 18% above the figure it recorded on the same day last year. Lockdown appeared to be driving demand for homes in more rural locations. Kent, Cornwall and Bournemouth saw the biggest spikes in demand. Weston Homes reported this week that it has already seen a wave of buyer enquiries for new homes in the Home Counties as purchasers sought to relocate from inner London.

A possible post-lockdown shake-up in attitudes to housing types and locations emerged in the latest RICS residential market survey. Nearly 80% of estate agents who had spoken to buyers since the 13th of May reopening of the housing market, felt there will be a fall in the appeal of tower blocks.

those looking to buy a house are responding to the conditions created by the pandemic by seeking out properties with gardens or balconies and nearer green space. These and other similar features are likely to increasingly command a premium over higher-density urban locations according to respondents to the survey.”

- Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist.

do you need to live close to the office anymore?

Working from home during lockdown for months seems to have interested new home buyers in moving to more idyllic locations way from cities, potentially with the ability to work from home in the future. 

Recent statistics showed commuting time as a primary factor in choosing a job with many opting for the shortest travelling time in job decisions. However, as we find ourselves in a new world of working from home by necessity, many are seeing it as an opportunity to reassess their living situation. Those that moved to London and other cities to be close to a job are now finding themselves effectively working from home. Business owners are also seeing this as an opportunity to close expensive office locations. So, now without the need to pay expensive city rent or mortgages in some cases, trends are displaying a look further to the rural regions where you can get more for your money and as long as the internet connection is good won't impede working ability. 

can I work from home?

This is the new question of everyone's lips. Not everyone can, and it will be reserved in general to higher tier jobs, office environments and those that can fully adapt themselves to a distanced working method. 

Even some jobs will vary by employer and system functionality to the degree in which home working is viable. An online marketing job, for example, can mostly fully exist from behind a laptop anywhere in the world, similarly, an IT professional can fully remotely work. However, if the infrastructure is not in place to allow this to happen and servers need to be physically operated, they would need to be able to commute to the location. A labourer can only work on-site whereas site managers may be able to spend most of their time off-site but would still likely be needed on-site in some situations.