Londoners seek sanctuary in The Garden of England

Londoners seek sanctuary in The Garden of England

With many housebuyers looking to escape the city in search of more outdoor space, it stands to reason that the county known as the ‘Garden of England’ should be a popular choice for those seeking a better quality of life post lockdown.

In recent months, Bellway Kent has seen a significant surge of interest at its developments across the county from London buyers keen to leave the capital behind and start a new life in the country.

Sales Director Mark Harrop said the county’s rolling green countryside, stunning coastline and picture postcard villages had become even more attractive to buyers following the experiences of lockdown.

Estate agent Savills has reported a significant upturn in buyers from London seeking homes in the country, with 32 per cent of new applicants coming from the capital compared to just 21 per cent a year ago.

Figures reported by the Financial Times show that while demand has slowed in London, interest has soared in parts of Kent, with Tonbridge and Medway seeing enquiries rise by up to 80 per cent in June compared to February.

Savills also found that across the prime London market, a significant proportion of agents have seen increased demand among buyers for gardens or outdoor space (97 per cent), a separate place to work from home (82 per cent) and proximity to a local park (71 per cent).

Outside of London, 90 per cent of agents reported greater demand for country locations and 83 per cent said more buyers were now looking for village homes.

“Buyers are re-evaluating their priorities in 2020 following the experience of lockdown”, said Mark. “Kent provides the perfect balance of town and country so it’s no surprise that we are seeing an influx of buyers wanting to move here from London. Several of our developments are in sought-after village locations, such as Wouldham, Otham, Faversham, Hawkhurst, Hoo St Werburgh and Harrietsham, and these have proved particularly popular with people relocating from the capital.

“However, all of our developments across Kent offer an enviable quality of life, with good amenities, open space and excellent transport links on their doorstep. As the Savills research shows, access to open space is increasingly important to buyers and all the homes at our 10 developments in Kent, and our two sites in neighbouring East Sussex – Pelham Place and Seaford Grange – come with outside space and benefit from open space either on the development itself or nearby.

“Having a suitable space in which to work from home, now and in the future, has also become a must-have for many people. A number of our larger properties have been designed with this very need in mind and come with their own separate study.

“While quality of life rather than price has clearly been the driver behind this influx of housebuyers from London, it is still the case that people can get more house and garden for their money here than in the capital. Those aspiring towards a larger property can now make their money go even further as a result of the stamp duty holiday. Homes priced around the £500,000 mark are the ones which will incur the biggest savings, and we have certainly noticed a spike in demand for the larger five-bedroom detached houses in this price bracket since the announcement.”

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