Nick Churton of Mayfair Office looks ahead to a busy spring in the property market.
In the wake of Covid 19 the UK experienced an exodus. This was the evacuation of urban dwellers to the land of milk and honey – the countryside.
The flight from city lockdown to a pastoral idyll was and is a compelling idea, especially when working practices have changed so much in the light of the pandemic.
But will this movement last? In a post-vaccination world there may be a gradual drifting back to the pleasures and convenience of big town or city life. But for many the change in lifestyle is now locked in. Roots have been put down in earth rather than concrete.
Despite the looming end to the stamp duty holiday deadline on March 31st there is little or no let up in demand. Lockdown 3 has brought even more buyers to the market and house price rises have reflected this.
Many exodus purchases have been a straight swap – town for country. But a good proportion of transactions have been for holiday homes with a view to longer-term permanent living through career change, altered lifestyle or retirement. This is clever thinking as any potential rises in capital gains tax could favour greater investment in principal residences, rather than second homes.
Covid19 has affected the property market in ways that we never expected, and we imagine it will continue to do so for quite a while. Unwelcome, horrifying and shattering as the disease is, for many buyers and sellers it has also unexpectedly proved to be a profound catalyst for change. If Covid19 fades in its potency into the spring and summer, we think those changes will continue to grow and become wonderful new opportunities. For many, the land of milk and honey beckons.