Escape to the country?

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Private Wealth on Friday, November 13th, 2020

As the months have ticked by, the coronavirus pandemic has led to some profound shifts in the UK’s attitudes to various aspects of life – including aspiring buyers’ property preferences. Rightmove reported a 126% increase in buyer enquiries about village properties in June and July this year[1], while 90% of Savills agents saw an increase in demand for homes in rural locations in the second quarter of 2020[2]. In tandem, 2020 has witnessed the unprecedented migration of Londoners away from the capital, with 1.6m city dwellers who worked away from London during lockdown saying they want to continue doing so[3].

In our Private Wealth Guide for 2020-21, we profiled some of the highest value towns and villages in Hertfordshire and Essex. We looked at the Hertfordshire villages of Radlett, Much Hadham and Harpenden, set in acres of lush countryside and boasting a rich supply of luxury properties. In our Essex guide, we turned our attention to the desirable locations of Ingatestone, Woodford Green and Chigwell, which offer a wide range of spacious properties to cater to all tastes. So, with this new shift in buyer tastes, will these areas become even more desirable in the coming months and years? Well, with millions of London workers expecting to work at least part-time from home for the foreseeable future, properties in these locations will offer the perfect blend of quiet, rural atmosphere and easy access to the capital.

Strong movement in the £1m+ market

Another interesting development since the start of the coronavirus outbreak has been strong sales activity in the luxury property market, with a 66% increase in sales of homes costing more than £1m between June and September, compared with the same period last year[4]. So, what will £1m get you in Hertfordshire and Essex’s top property hotspots compared with the capital?

In Ingatestone, a search for properties within the £1m to £1.2m bracket turns up spacious, high-spec four-bedroomed homes, featuring large, beautifully landscaped gardens[5]. In Radlett, buyers can choose between luxury two and three-bedroomed apartments set in stunning communal grounds and many-bedroomed family homes for the same amount[6]. In Chigwell, modern four and five-bedroomed homes are the norm for this sum[7], while three and four-bedroomed flats and houses set in plenty of green space can be snapped up in Harpenden within this price bracket[8].

By contrast, gardens are a much rarer find at this price in the capital. With no properties listed at the lower end of this price range, one and two-bedroom apartments and semi-detached or terraced properties with modest gardens are the norm for a £1.2m price tag[9]. With buyer demand for detached homes causing their value to rise at three times the rate of smaller properties[10], and searches for properties with gardens soaring by 42% in May compared with the same month in 2019[11], it’s little wonder that so many city-dwellers are flocking to smaller village locations.

What next for the Herts and Essex property markets?

According to Zoopla, house prices in Hertfordshire have grown by 4.5% since August 2020[12], while Essex house prices have witnessed growth of 3.81% in the same time period[13]. Demand for properties in these counties is clearly still high, and looks to remain strong as these areas become ever more attractive to London workers looking to split their time between home and the office. And, with the Stamp Duty Holiday on properties under £500,000 continuing until March 2021, buyers of a £1m home stand to save a staggering £15,000 on their Stamp Duty bill. There’s never been a better time to move to Hertfordshire and Essex’s most desirable locations.

Our Private Wealth Guide

To read more about our findings in the Essex and Herts property markets, and other key topics on what makes these two counties fantastic places to work and reside, read our Private Wealth Guide:

[1] https://www.rightmove.co.uk/press-centre/village-enquiries-double-as-city-dwellers-escape-to-the-country/

[2] https://www.savills.co.uk/insight-and-opinion/savills-news/301568-0

[3] https://www.thehrdirector.com/business-news/covid19/covid-19-accelerates-migration-from-london-as-1-6m-plan-moves-out-of-the-capital/

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/oct/19/average-asking-price-for-homes-in-britain-hits-record-high

[5] https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/find.html?searchType=SALE&locationIdentifier=REGION%5E680&insId=1&radius=0.0&minPrice=900000&maxPrice=1250000&minBedrooms=&maxBedrooms=&displayPropertyType=&maxDaysSinceAdded=&_includeSSTC=on&sortByPriceDescending=&primaryDisplayPropertyType=&secondaryDisplayPropertyType=&oldDisplayPropertyType=&oldPrimaryDisplayPropertyType=&newHome=&auction=false

[6] https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/find.html?searchType=SALE&locationIdentifier=REGION%5E1108&insId=1&radius=0.0&minPrice=900000&maxPrice=1250000&minBedrooms=&maxBedrooms=&displayPropertyType=&maxDaysSinceAdded=&_includeSSTC=on&sortByPriceDescending=&primaryDisplayPropertyType=&secondaryDisplayPropertyType=&oldDisplayPropertyType=&oldPrimaryDisplayPropertyType=&newHome=&auction=false

[7] https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/search.html?locationIdentifier=REGION%5E87490&maxPrice=1250000&minPrice=900000&numberOfPropertiesPerPage=24&radius=0.0&sortType=2&index=0&includeSSTC=false&viewType=LIST&channel=BUY&areaSizeUnit=sqft&currencyCode=GBP&isFetching=false&searchLocation=chigwell&useLocationIdentifier=false&previousSearchLocation=null

[8] https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/find.html?searchType=SALE&locationIdentifier=REGION%5E597&insId=1&radius=0.0&minPrice=900000&maxPrice=1250000&minBedrooms=&maxBedrooms=&displayPropertyType=&maxDaysSinceAdded=&_includeSSTC=on&sortByPriceDescending=&primaryDisplayPropertyType=&secondaryDisplayPropertyType=&oldDisplayPropertyType=&oldPrimaryDisplayPropertyType=&newHome=&auction=false

[9] https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/find.html?locationIdentifier=REGION%5E87490&maxPrice=1250000&minPrice=900000&propertyTypes=&includeSSTC=false&mustHave=&dontShow=&furnishTypes=&keywords=

[10] https://www.forbes.com/sites/advisoruk/2020/11/06/average-house-price-busts-quarter-of-a-million-for-first-time-ever/?sh=5dd177862fe4

[11] https://www.nerdwallet.com/uk/mortgages/the-ultimate-guide-to-moving-out-of-london/

[12] https://www.zoopla.co.uk/house-prices/essex/

[13] https://www.zoopla.co.uk/house-prices/hertfordshire/

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