During the first national lockdown in Spring/Summer 2020, interest in London homes dropped significantly as buyers seemed to be fleeing the capital. Today, demand is already returning back to normal.
Many media outlets and industry commentators called it an Exodus – buyers were abandoning London as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic. It was reported that workers no longer needed to live close to their city centre offices and that families were desperately looking for more outdoor space; that our collective life priorities had changed as a result of being locked down and that this was directly leading many to abandon London living.
While it might be true that demand for London homes dropped slightly in Spring/Summer 2020, it was never going to last forever. Estate agent Yopa, speaking to This Is Money, say that during the first lockdown in 2020, only 16.3% of viewing requests came from buyers looking for London homes. This number has already returned to 24.1% today.
Many of these buyers are coming from overseas, particularly Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia as many people look to buy secure homes in the UK due to what This Is Money calls cites as ‘concerns over the political and economic stability’ of their nations.
When reporting this news, The Daily Mail turned to our in-house property expert, Russell Quirk, for insight:
‘I firmly believe homeowners and buyers will return to the Capital. While transactions in London in 2020 were down dramatically, demand has started to return from enquirers via the portals.
‘I think there is some data that shows there was a bit of an exodus, with several estate agents reporting more people moving out, than into London. But it has to be said that some of those reports are merely self-serving for firms.
‘There was definitely a sentiment for home owners that they didn’t need to be in the city and so close to their desks because of working from home; which I’m sure to some extent will remain a fairly robust sentiment for come City workers. But that change of mindset will only ever be temporary.
‘I also think that, working aside, we are inherently social creatures and because of that there will be generally a return of wanting to come back to the office. The city centre will hopefully revitalise and the move towards living in the wilds of the countryside and working with a dodgy broadband will subside in time.
‘Some people suggest that Covid will change our ways and habits, but I think when we look back in a few years’ time, we will say that it was just a blip in history.
‘I firmly believe homeowners and buyers will return to the Capital. We must also look at the data – there is soft data that shows people are simply browsing homes out in the wilds. It is the hard data that shows actual transactions.’