The current upheaval the world is facing today has not only caused lasting impacts on the way people work, but also how they live and their future choices of where they want to reside. In this case, it's the literal sense. Dominic Blythe mentioned in a previous post that now that the property market has begun to reopen, social distancing and increased sanitation processes are involved to continue the communal effort of flattening the curve. However, this isn't the only change that the property sector is experiencing. The Guardian pointed to recent reports that show that UK homeowners are looking to move to the countryside in droves.
The paper notes that this may be because the lockdown prompted many to re-evaluate what's important to them, whether that is a desire to continue working remotely for part of the week once things go back to normal or wanting a bigger space where their children can grow up. Having to move to a more distant location from the workplace may seem like an impractical idea, but research found that one in six people were ready to embark on a longer commute if they were only going into the office a few times a week.
It's not hard to see why the countryside is more appealing. For one, rural areas generally have cleaner air. Enviropedia document that air quality is a key issue in urban areas especially since emissions of primary pollutants are greater in cities. For another, life expectancy is higher and there is more opportunity to get out and exercise with all the open space available. Then again, it's not without its downsides. It may come as a surprise, but rural homes are not as energy efficient as urban homes. Environmental Technology outline how this due to rural homes being much harder to heat than urban homes, as well as an increased need to use vehicles for transportation. And this could be a deal breaker for people who wish to lower their energy bills and decrease their carbon footprint.
The good news is that more UK homes are becoming sustainable which could help offset this imbalance. For those in rural areas where heating is an issue, maintaining or upgrading the system is the most cost effective option. This is why HomeServe advise regularly getting your boiler checked by professionals, as it is likely the cause of any issues, both to the environment and personal expenses, a home has with its heating. Doing so not only keeps the property’s carbon footprint down, but it also helps the owner avoid more utilities repairs down the line, which due to being in a rural area could be much harder to fix. The BBC also notes that homeowners and property managers ought to look into using new technologies to ensure low energy use. A good idea would be to install windows that are triple-glazed and ensure that new homes being built are positioned so the sun heats them in winter and helps them stay cool in the summer.
What the lockdown has demonstrated is that urban areas are not as essential for work and quality of life as many people thought. In fact, Frances Clacy from the estate agent Savills believes “buyers will look to move to well-connected towns and villages which have sufficient amenities to allow them to work from home more often.” And with technology now helping those in rural areas work and be just as sustainable and cost cutting as in a city, it is no wonder homeowners are eyeing the countryside.
Article contributed by Alyson Allen.