The great escape! Major agent reveals 48% surge in agreed sales as buyers leave London for more space

Savills has hailed a “remarkable recovery” in activity levels since the reopening of the property market in England on May 13th, with a surge in prime buyers looking to leave London for more space.

The agent said agreed sales in the prime markets of England fell by 72% annually in April, but were up 48% compared with last year as of the week ending June 21st.

Activity has reflected predictions of a demand for more outdoor space.

Across the prime London market, 97% of Savills agents reported increased demand for homes with a garden or outdoor space, 82% said there was increased demand for a separate place to work from home, and 71% sought proximity to a local park.

This desire for space has also caused existing owners in central London to look to outer London locations, particularly across the prime west and south west markets, Savills said.

Outside of prime London, 83% Savills agents reported increased demand for village homes and 90% said there was a  greater demand for country locations.

All offices reported an uptick in buyers from London, with 32% of new applicants in the country coming from London compared to 21% last year.

However, average values have slipped by 1.1% in the prime residential markets of London and remained flat elsewhere during the second quarter of this year,

Savills predicted that activity would remain buoyant over the next few months across the prime markets.

It said new buyer registrations and viewings respectively are 32% and 25% higher than the average in the 10 weeks pre-lockdown.

Lucian Cook, Savills head of residential research for Savills, said: “Market activity has been buoyed by pent up demand, in part at least, but we have been surprised at the extent to which lockdown has made people reassess their housing needs and, more pertinently, act upon it

“This said, buyers appear to be keeping their feet on the ground when it comes to what they will pay, meaning sellers must retain realistic price expectations if this momentum is to be sustained.”

 

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7 Comments

  1. AlwaysAnAgent

    It will be interesting to see whether coastal areas see in uptick in both demand and prices as more Brits opt for a staycation this year … and beyond.

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    1. Gloslet

      Particularly in Cornwall where the reporting of elevated levels of hostility by locals to outsiders may well make some people think twice about staying there or going there.

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  2. Richard Copus

    Here in Devon there is increasing evidence of larger numbers of Londoners moving out to the Home Counties  –    where they can have more space, a bigger house for their money and can still get to their office once or twice a week without having to do a marathon travel  –  and people from the Home Counties are using the opportunity to sell up and move down here.  There is also some direct migration from the capital.  The vast majority are looking for primary, not second homes.  (Savills figures for the West and South-West are likely to include Wiltshire, which is within easy commuting distance of London and also Gloucestershire, both counties less than 100 miles from there).

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    1. LVW4

      In terms of ‘migration’ from London to Devon & Cornwall, if these are primary homebuyers, I’m wondering if they are retirees. Gloucestershire & Wiltshire (and I would include Avon & Somerset) are lovely parts of the country, but it’s not so much the distance as the time it takes to travel if you need to be in London or Manchester several times a week. I recently sold up in Chiswick and moved to York. It was designated the best city to live in, there are wonderful restaurants, it’s just 2 hours from Kings Cross, and our home is a 12-minute walk from the station. The house I’ve bought is quite a bit bigger than my Chiswick house and the price was much less than half. I used to drive 20,000 miles per annum with much of that between London and York. I can now jump on the train and relax, and if I book far enough ahead, will get a good First Class price. I bought a lovely new car 3 years ago and am now wondering why! Should have leased it!

      I think York and the surrounding areas are a great alternative to the above usual suspects. It may not have the caché (and price!) of the Cotswolds, but I’m a 30-minute drive from the Yorkshire Moors, a very easy one hour from the coast, and 2 hours from the Lake District. I feel very fortunate!

       

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      1. Richard Copus

        Not just retirees.  A lot of people in their 30s and 40s moving to work down here.  The last time there was such a migration was in the mid-eighties.  But it’s still early days.

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        1. LVW4

          I’m really surprised at that. I used to spend a lot of time in Devon (Torquay area) and my experience was there was little skilled and high paying work, broadband and mobile was unreliable, and most people had to travel e.g. to Bristol and beyond. But maybe things have changed for the better and ‘real’ working from home is becoming viable. Someone in their 30s has a lot of years before retiring, and a lot of years with a totally different and typically lonely working environment!
          I first worked from home in the late 80s. One of the ‘pioneers’. But I still had to visit the office for so many things. I fully worked from home for the past 10 years, and while I had flexibility, it was often incredibly lonely. I used to see people enjoying their lunchtimes and after-work time socialising in bars and restaurants and wish I could still do it, before getting the train home. I would go out of my way for face-to-face interaction at work wherever possible!

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          1. Richard Copus

            A bit late for me to leave a reply, LVW4, but you may catch this! 
            When I moved down to Devon in 1984 as a junior manager there were so many people migrating down here that the Western Morning News wrote a leader encouraging locals to welcome us!  You’re right about the lack of good jobs, but a large number of these people were youngish entrepeneurs getting away from the smoke and not worrying about earning megabucks but putting lifestyle as a priority (if I’d wanted to earn a decent buck I’d have stayed in Surrey!).  Today is a slightly different world, but even more inviting to immigrants from “up country”.  Reasonably good broadband (even Dartmoor is better than it was!) makes working from home in such a pleasant environment very appealing and the whole cross section of people types and ages now has made the county a far more cosmopolitan place to live.  

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