Evidence suggests that city dwellers are beginning to make their move to their rural second homes, now that the price of property in London is right.
With rapid price growth in the London market over the past year, many estate agents and leading market analysts have begun to predict that the greatest growth over the next five years will be mainly in towns and villages on the commuter belt.
Whilst country house prices have remained about 20 per cent lower than the 2007 peak, the Central London market has seen prices rise by approximately 23 per cent in the same period.
In many of the traditional commuter hotspots; including Surrey, Hampshire and Oxfordshire, local agents are seeing an increase in buyers moving away from the more wealthy pockets of London, including Fulham, Battersea, Wandsworth and Chelsea. Many of these buyers have been waiting since before the downturn for the right time to buy and many who in the pre-recession days would have kept a property in town, are now giving up their London properties and entirely relocating to what would have been their second homes.
The trend has been further supported by improved internet connectivity in rural areas, particularly as 4G is rolled out to more and more locations. Add to that the advantage of faster and more frequent train services, as well as better road connections, and we are beginning to see a steadily increasing number of professionals able to work from home on a more regular basis, without the need for a London base.
As a result, towns that have in recent years been seen as the stronghold of second home owners are now benefitting from people buying properties to live in on a full-time basis, rather than a part-time one. In a lot of cases, buyers are making their country house their main residence, meaning at long last we are seeing at least a slight reversal of the urbanisation which has been predominant now for over 200 years.
Adding to the trends laid out above, cheaper properties in rural locations such as Devon and Cornwall are now being considered by a growing number of buyers due in part to the growing price differential with their South East counterparts. We discuss this in detail in our article looking towards investment opportunities in 2014…
14.01.14 LE / SJ / LCB