POST-COVID Residential property Boom away from Urban Centers
While rustic charm has always lured the prosperous into having a second home in villages, the ruralisation wave in the wave of the COVID-19 lockdown could turn things on their head. The wealthy might accord secondary status to their city dwelling. It is unclear, though if this trend is cyclical or structural. Plus, there are the local-versus-visitor tensions to deal with.
“What is this life full of care?
We have no time to stand and stare.”
William H Davies in Leisure, 1911
Rural Resurrection in the Making?
Rural properties around the globe are witnessing a surge in demand as urbanites, flock closer to nature in a bid to isolate – from Europe to America to Australia. Those with the work-from-home option are also jumping the bandwagon of reverse urbanization to escape infection risks inherent in the inner-city areas, but the trend is large reserved for those with deep pockets.
Infection fears are stoking fires of tension between the locals and the seasonal visitors though. Residents in many small towns and/or rural regions around New York and other parts of the United States as well as in the United Kingdom and Australia are pushing back outsiders.
The Rustic Charm
Imagine sipping a steaming cup of early morning coffee (or tea) on the roomy porch of a country house, civilizations away from the city hustle bustle, with log fire embers keeping the chill at bay. Vast open spaces surround the house perched in the very lap of nature.
Birds chirp melodiously as the first light from the sun streams gently, making the shadows of tree leaves dance to the tune of whistling winds. No buildings block the view of the sun. And, there is a stream adding a background symphony to this picturesque setting.
Precisely why the city rich have always fancied a rural, second home! Now, they have one more excuse – the COVID-19 inspired lockdown. So potent is the wave, the wealthy might reverse their preferences and have a city residence as second home!
Demand Push Up: How Much?
Savills discovered that as compared to the pre-COVID situation, 40% British now regard villages as more charming. The statistic jumps to 54% for parents with school-going kids.
A UBS survey found over half of affluent French, Germans, British, and Italians now preferring relocation to sparsely populated areas. The corresponding statistic for Americans is one third.
Page views for property listings in rural areas and small towns shot up respectively by 115% and 88% year-over-year in the United States. And those for cities with one-million-plus population slipped by 10%. This was around late-March 2020.
Closing a property deal is a long drawn out process with prospective buyers visiting the site over and over again, and exploring it from every possible angle before giving the nod, more so for village houses. The lockdown means many cannot travel to the rural areas of their house hunting operation.
When the lockdown becomes less stringent, we could witness a veritable flood of property seekers.
Now, what remains to be seen is whether the shift in preferences is structural or cyclical, the former being a permanent one while the latter is a short-lived affair. The desire of the super rich to retreat to isolated, country homes with a view to sidestep the hazards of COVID-19 infection heralds fair-weather for the luxury market sector.
Be as it may, for some this has become the case of the night being the darkest before dawn. Large parts of rural Europe were facing depopulation as the youth migrated to cities in search for better sources livelihood.
Those who stayed behind are sitting on gold mines, now.
Calibrated investments into luxury properties in rural Europe are an attractive option, and we will continue to bring events and developments that reinforce this observation.
corona-impact, covid-19, residential, Property