The New Priorities in the New Normal (beyond location, location, location)
*** This article was published back in June 2020***
In last week’s article, we mentioned how the London property market has arisen from lockdown and what has happened so far. Prices are more fragmented than ever, and location is no longer the main deciding factor.
These past few months, many of us have rediscovered the place we called home. Some of us have enjoyed the pleasure of home-cooking (and now need a better and bigger kitchen), others realized that working from their bedrooms long term is not sustainable, and many now want outside space. The importance of our ‘home’ and how we live our lives is now more predominant than ever.
Lockdown has brought home the need for different spaces for different family members, spaces that are fit for purpose. And not just for now but also for what might lie ahead (2nd wave?). Many homeowners have embarked in what Americans call ‘beautification’ of their homes.
Others have come to the conclusion that London is no longer for them and are behind a significant reported spike in rural inquiries, primarily in search of more space, larger gardens and home offices now that working remotely for some businesses has proved efficient. As a property consultant, I believe this is a short-term reaction. Although demand for outer zone areas in London with more green spaces and larger footprints will see a more permanent uplift.
Below is the list of priorities we believe will be the lasting legacy of Covid-19 particulary in the London property market and that go beyond simply location, location, location.
- Home offices. With working for home now a reality for many, top of the list right now is a ‘proper home office space’: away from your kids doing homeschooling, with great natural light and adequate space to have more than a desk to work for extended periods is the new #musthave.
- Proper green/outside space. Maybe it is the fact that we have been blessed with so much sunshine or that we want to grow our own vegetables but certainly, if you do not fancy moving to the outskirts of London or the countryside, then the best option is to have ‘proper outside space’. We are seeing that London houses & flats with large gardens and proper terraces are commanding and achieving a #pricepremium.
- Multi-Functional Rooms / Large playrooms / Home School /Gym: Having your personal space to work out with an online class or your trainer away from the rest of the family has become a priority to many. The same space can also double as a separate space for your kids to home-school or play in winter. We expect a demand for flexible spaces that can fulfill various purposes to be a new #toppriority.
- Larger kitchens/ dining areas. With restaurants closed, many of us have re-discovered our kitchens and the pleasures of cooking. Having a large kitchen to cook or to accommodate more than one oven, a pantry to store food in addition of bigger dining areas is now a #needtohave.
- Bike- The government wants us all on our bikes. But let’s face it, very few places have an allocated space to store them. With many of us now cycling to places, expect more demand for separate bike storage (and the associated premium for the few that have it).
- Wifi speed. As so many of us now require more connection, the speed and quality of the WIFI becomes essential.
- Apartment blocks / Big buildings with one lift. As we need to maintain social distancing, having just one lift for a big building can be a nightmare. Furthermore, what’s the point in paying for shared facilities that you cannot longer use? (Note however, that as a property adviser I have a comment for this for investors)
- Proximity to the tube. We are all commuting less, biking more or working from home so the tube becomes less relevant.
- Open plan kitchen / living. If you work and study side-by-side, you need your own space. Privacy has become more precious these days.
Life after the coronavirus pandemic will no doubt require a long period of economic recovery and personal adjustment. For many, new homes to suit our new normal will be the first step in that transition. After all, the key to a new better life can often be found in your (new) home!
And if in doubt, call us! as experienced London property search consultants, we will be happy to give you our opinion and help you with you navigate the London property market.