Moving to the country used to be a dream for many people. They may not have particularly enjoyed living in central London or in the heart of the UK’s other big cities but found that the need to be at their desks at 9 sharp every morning did not leave them with much choice.
Covid, or rather the working from home revolution it triggered, may have changed all that.
At Continuum we are looking at how changes in the housing market are creating new property hotspots, far from the traditional favourites.
What has changed?
A city office used to present a stark choice. Spend a fortune on a small property close by, or a long commute, with wasted hours and some serious costs for a season ticket or petrol and parking.
Remote working may mean that there is an alternative.
If you replace the long daily slog to a city centre office with a stroll to a spare bedroom that has become a home office, you no longer have to be close to a tube or commuter line. You don’t have to compromise on a cramped flat when you can have a house with a garden.
It has affected the housing market, particularly at the top end.
Property website Rightmove suggests that Scotland has overtaken London as the fastest moving market for million-pound homes. However, in terms of volume, the South East has recorded the biggest increase in the share of million-pound homes across Great Britain, rising from 26% to 29%.
What kind of home can you afford?
Million pound country property or city starter home, contact us at Continuum for a free initial discussion of how far your property finances might stretch.
It looks as though families are ditching inner city boroughs for locations on the edge of the countryside. Hertfordshire has several towns outside the capital where million pound-plus homes have sold fast with Berkhamsted, St Albans, Hertford and Hitchin topping the leader board, while Surry has seen similar results in Thames Ditton, Epsom, Ashtead and Reigate.
The numbers from Rightmove also show that London has seen a drop in its overall share of the total million-pound sales market, with 40% of million-pound sales now taking place in the capital, compared with 47% before the pandemic.
What will happen the market now?
Of course, UK house prices overall are still soaring. Official figures show they have been increasing at their fastest rate for more than a decade.
The rush to take advantage of Chancellor Sunak’s Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday was probably feeding this explosive growth. The stamp duty holiday is over, and one of the factors feeding the market frenzy is no more. However, low mortgage rates mean that even high house prices are more affordable.
Some commentators believe that the end of the stamp duty holiday will put an end to the pace of house price growth. Others suggest that while the pace of buying and selling may slow, a steady price increase will continue.
Of course, any wobble in the recovery could be felt in the housing market, and any increase in bank rate which meant people found that they have over-extended themselves could still bring the market to an abrupt halt.
But if you are considering a move now, and are heading out of town, the growing cost of homes outside the big cities may make it wise to make it sooner rather than later.
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Wherever the new property hotspots are, and wherever you are planning your next move, getting the most suitable mortgage will be vital. At Continuum we search the entire market to find the mortgage product that is most suitable for you, including mortgages that are only available through expert advisers like ourselves.
The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable mortgage product, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.
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