One of the questions that we’ve been pondering in relation to our business is, what are the trends that will emerge in home ownership as a result of Covid-19.
Most obviously, people are going to appreciate their homes more. Many people will have surprised themselves by enjoying the enforced down-shift in the intensity of daily life – something they might have theorised about, but never quite managed to act out. I know of one CEO who has talked for several years about retiring and always been tempted back, who has now set a definite date for the end of the year.
If you have money to spend on property, why not be more immersed in the whole project, rather than just the finished article? Get more involved with architects, designers, landscapers from the outset. There are few things more satisfying than envisioning and delivering a real personal stamp on a home and your own land.
Certainly, there is going to be less international travel for quite some time, and that is bound to change some habits. We’ve all convinced ourselves for a long time that there’s no substitute for sitting down with people to do business. But having been forced to work via video-calls and conferences, are we really going to go straight back to airports, long-haul flights, hotels and business dinners?
So, not surprisingly, we’ve already had an uptick in clients asking us to keep an eye out for interesting country properties, and I think they’ll be a little less concerned with proximity to London and Heathrow, for example, than the quality of the broadband, and the potential for a home office with a view.
Even in normal times, the greatest challenge is the lack of availability of good quality country properties. With the inevitable increase in demand, this challenge will become even more acute, and so those who hold prime country property may find that its value has actually risen. In London the very best property should hold its value, but there are so many factors currently – Covid-19 obviously, but also the Brexit end game, and the sheer volatility of the US election run-in – that will make pricing very difficult to read this year.
And if you are lucky enough to already have a country property, I suspect that you’ll have enjoyed making the most of it and wondered why you hadn’t spent more time there, breathing a little, having a bit more energy for your family and being more involved in decision-making.
Written by Tom Hudson, Property Advisor at Middleton Advisors