Will Leyland, 14 October 2020
It’s very much been a year of realignment, new perspectives and new priorities. There’s nothing like a global health emergency and an unprecedented economic crisis to focus minds, as they say.
One of the key areas that appears to have had people thinking more about their priorities is housing. Having left the original lockdown back in May, in which the vast majority of the population were forced to remain indoors for prolonged amounts of time, we now look as though we could be entering into more restrictions that the government say could last for up to 6 months.
With such a situation where your home and housing becomes the place where you spend the vast majority of your time, it’s bound to have people considering whether they’re in the right place for the long-term.
Whereas smaller apartments within city living may be appropriate for those with busy social lives and a busy career, working from home within those confines may not feel like the best solution in the longer-term.
Furthermore, one of the big attractions of living in the city is proximity to nightlife, work, transport and shops. If these are subsequently asked to close, the city can feel like a lonely place.
With that in mind, the question on my lips is whether people will continue to persist with city living after the pandemic has been brought under control?
According to the BBC, “Property website Rightmove says homebuyers are looking to escape crowded cities and big towns by moving to the country or the coast. Coronavirus has meant more people are working from home while lockdown made them realise they wanted more space. Rightmove said that searches have doubled for homes in small towns and villages with populations less than 11,000.”
Is this a trend that could continue into 2021 and beyond? Well that depends. The likelihood is that there will be some kind of vaccine available to use either by the end of this year or early next year, and certainly by mid-2021.
With that in mind, we’re not looking at many years of disruption, although we may find that it will take decades for the economy to fully repair itself and return to growth.
In truth, the most likely cause is that this was a trend that was growing and is now being accelerated. We already know that the majority of those living within city centres are young workers with high disposable incomes and students.
As the Millennial generation now moves towards middle age and their peak earning power, it’s not really a huge surprise that they’re following in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents and looking to move away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Sure, living on your own in a smaller apartment within the city centre during lockdown isn’t much fun but it’s hard to imagine that it’s going to spark a mass exodus. What we’re probably going to see, especially with estate agents being as busy as they are, is a slight acceleration of people putting plans into motion.
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Will Leyland, 14 October 2020