How hybrid working patterns are influencing Londoners’ property priorities

The pandemic saw the rise (and fall in some cases) of several new trends across the property market, such as the exodus of cities, the race for space, and the conversion of homes into offices. With hybrid working now widely considered the norm rather than an emerging trend, Sara Ransom of Stacks Property Search explores how ditching the office is impacting property aspirations in the capital.

Related topics:  Property,  London,  housing,  WFH
Property | Reporter
27th April 2023
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"Finding suitable times for purchasers to view properties when one or two owners are working from home can be challenging when everybody is having to work around back-to-back Zoom meetings"

Londoners who moved to the country during the pandemic are finding they are now spending more time in London than they anticipated and are seeking pieds a terre to alleviate the pain of constant commuting. They are looking for prime central properties with plenty of life in the immediate vicinity to alleviate the quiet of the rural areas in which they now spend most of their time.

Full-time Londoners are increasingly seeking a halfway house option rather than moving out of the Capital altogether. Lateral living with large gardens that have space for a plush home office in top-end suburbs such as Wimbledon and Hampstead are in huge demand; properties of this kind are carrying significant premiums. Buyers are less concerned about the journey time into central London, or the distance to a tube station as they are less likely to be committed to full-time office hours.

Buyers who continue to be home-based for many of their working hours are specific about their requirements. Properties that are quiet during the day are a priority as a peaceful environment is crucial. Nearby schools and busy roads are red flags to many of today’s prime London buyers. If they work at home upwards of two days a week, tube, plane and playground noise are often deal breakers.

Buyers want turnkey properties that have good separate workspaces, even if that’s a wide corridor, a tiny box room or space in the garden for a studio. Properties that need work are struggling to sell. Buyers are concerned about the cost of building work and the availability of tradespeople, but they are also much less inclined to take on a project as living in a property while it’s done up is almost impossible if the owners are working from home.

Viewing London property is a challenge now that homes are offices. Finding suitable times for purchasers to view properties when one or two owners are working from home can be challenging when everybody is having to work around back-to-back Zoom meetings.

The close-to-the-tube premium is largely a thing of the past. Times change, working from home is routine, office hours are flexible, and cycling and walking are mainstream. Londoners' obsession with how far a property is from the nearest tube station, and the premiums associated with those that are within a ten-minute walk, are largely historical.

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