We have been inundated. Well, that is perhaps an exaggeration, but there has been a very noticeable acceleration in the number of new young and youngish families buying property in our village since the pandemic began; and it has continued apace. Was this purely a pandemic phenomenon and being repeated in other parts of the UK, this sudden increased exodus from city and town to country, or was it already brewing and the pandemic simply the last straw for those desperate to leave an increasingly frustrating and frenetic urban lifestyle?
As a country village (population circa 1,600) – though perhaps a little different from other rural villages in being less than an hour’s commute from London – we are not of course talking in the hundreds. Yet the size of the village has grown at a rate not seen since the early eighties. Why is this?
The overall demand for housing is of course one factor, proximity to London another: but conversations with the ‘newbies’ from, largely, London revealed a number of factors that have come much more to the fore in people’s thinking and attitudes with regard to quality of work and family life: they now consider it best and actually possible and within their budgets to live in the country. Of course, I am talking almost entirely here about the property-owning, professional, upper middle class or upwardly mobile two-parent families. I must confess to not knowing the official figures, but the pattern is reported in villages nearby.
So, what are the factors and reasons inspiring this exodus, which, as the pandemic continues and the numbers of ‘escapees’ increases, must play a significant part in determining the right makeup and balance of one’s property portfolio?