The Race for Larger Homes and Private Outdoor Spaces Begins
Estate agents are seeing more and more interest from renters for properties located in commuter towns and villages around London. City living seems to be losing its appeal for young professionals as they flea London in search of more space and private gardens.
2020 has shaped new views in many aspects of what we used to call a “normal” life. Bustling city centres, longer or shorter commutes, late nights at the office have been replaced in many cases by the new norm of working from home.
This has caused a shift in perspective for renters and property owners alike as far as their homes are concerned. Many are starting to wonder what else is out there and what their life would look like in a quiet and small suburban town. Rising city rents and increasingly difficult to reach mortgage deposits are causing many Londoners to take a closer look at what their budgets can get them outside the capital.
What Is Drawing Tenants to the Suburbs?
After the first few months of 2020, several property market studies have found an increased appetite from renters for larger rental properties located in the countryside. This has come as a surprise to many, but experienced estate agents know the reason behind this massive shift in interest.
When we consider the increased number of people working from home since the coronavirus pandemic took over in March 2020, it’s no wonder that tenants want to take advantage of their freedom of movement to make a choice that will better accommodate their current needs.
Young London professionals, in particular, have found that more spacious properties and quiet neighbourhoods may be more important in the long run than a short commute. And all for a better price.
Consequently, the London suburb property market is going through what some may call an “exodus” of London renters to the more spacious suburbs.
The truth of the matter is that the suburbs have plenty to offer residents. For one, there is the quick and easy access to country parks and countless outdoor activities. Second, there are numerous chain stores, local shops, and restaurants to cater to the locals’ every need.
Then, there are the all-important larger homes and additional rooms. And, since you won’t find a London resident saying they don’t need more space or an extra room, that is one aspect that is bound to change a lot of people’s minds about the advantages of the suburbs. Add in the private gardens and the feeling of tranquillity and peace that comes with the small-town vibe and it suddenly dawns on you that relocating to the suburbs may be quite a good idea.
Suburban Life Is Toppling City Life in the Preferences Young Professionals
What do the numbers say? Well, while demand from tenants has dropped in inner-city locations – particularly the South East and South West of London, some suburban hotspots have seen an increase of more than 75-80% in rental property searches. Overall, 25% of the rental moves recorded after March 2020 have been from flats to houses. That’s over 10% more than what the market usually sees. The highest percentage of renters relocating to commuter towns is represented by young professionals in their mid-30s.
One of these suburban havens is Cambridge, which has seen a progressively large number of new residents putting in competitive offers for rental properties in the area. Other such hotspots are Chessington, South Norwood, and Gloucestershire’s Cirencester, all of which offer good transport connections to London City Centre.
It is clear that most of the renters fleeing London prefer to not venture too far out into the countryside. While they do appreciate being able to upsize from flats to a three-bed semi, they are still looking to make their commute as short as possible and tend to focus on areas that provide good transport links into the city.
Another interesting fact is that although rents tend to be lower in the suburbs, tenants moving here from inner London are actually paying more for their rentals. £140 to £260 more, on average. The reason is simple. They are upsizing their London rentals and adding more square footage – and gardens, in many cases – to their living spaces.
What Does This Mean as far as London Rents Go?
With over 60% of renters choosing to upsize doing so in commuter towns around London, inner London residents may be in for a positive market change. The drop in demand for rentals in the capital has started to translate into better rental terms for the London tenants choosing to stay in the big city.
Studies show that, on average, they can spend up to £86 less per month for upsizing to an inner-city property with at least one extra bedroom.
What Is the Cost?
The upside to living in a suburban commuter town on the outskirts of London is the amount of living space you can get for almost the same cost. The prospect of being able to move into a larger property with more rooms and a private garden while paying the same amount or actually being able to save some money in the process is more than appealing.
In addition, the cost of living outside of London is lower than that in the inner city. So, your grocery list and your take-out orders will add up to less than they would if you were living in the heart of the capital.
On the other hand, renters considering the outskirts of London as their future home should also consider some of the negatives. For instance, the salary you can earn at a job in the suburbs will probably also be lower. Then again, if you are keeping your London job, there is still the higher cost of the commute to take into account.