Is the train leaving the move to the country station

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 by Ed Mead


Is the train leaving the Move to the Country station?


For years London agents were supported by a natural progression of buyers and sellers, many destined seemingly to the same end, a move to the country. With minimal variation the progression went, 1 bed flat Clapham (Chelsea/Sth Ken if you had rich parents), 2 bed flat in Battersea/Fulham, 3 bed house between the commons or Fulham, 5 bed house Wandsworth/ Fulham/Putney and then a leap to Home Counties/Dorset . Steady and swingeing Stamp Duty increases have shortened that chain over the years constipating the market.

Whatever could be used to salve that condition, and TV ads are full of ideas these days, they’ve been rendered ineffective by an unintended consequence of the Financial Crisis.

Rather like the Eurozone low interest rates suit some areas of our Country better than others and it’s clearly the case that interest rates set to allow UK PLC to breathe have created a boom in London PLC. With rates too low for London the net result has been a huge, and somewhat unpredictable, increase in property values. In the rest of the country, or perhaps which that doesn’t directly benefit from London, real property prices sit well below where they were in 07/08.

An example is someone who would have been in that chain described above and decided that rather than pay a Porsche’s worth of Stamp Duty to buy a bigger house they’d take the plunge and move to the country. They would have sold their between the commons three bed house for c. £850k in 07 and bought their house in Hampshire for c. £750k and lived their dream. Most would have happily continued to live it but for our property obsession and their ex-neighbours still living in the same houses in London. During the intervening five or six years their country house would have barely moved in nominal value, if not actually have moved down a bit, but the house they left behind would now be worth c. £1.35m, a huge gain.

Now many will ignore that and think of the benefits of living outside London but for many the inherent value of their home is what makes them feel good.

The net result appears to be that many will now not sell their London property but will rent it out and then rent in the Country.

The aforementioned lower bowel condition is now critical as a result BUT it does seem as if those seeking to move to the country might be doing so at the right time if they do it now. Country property values are finally on the up. Not boom time but enough to promote a sense that the worst is over.

Given all this it seems a good time to be considering that move, so why not visit us at Battersea Arts Centre on 27Th March where D&G will be hosting dozens of agents from The London Office  who will be able to talk to you about anywhere in the UK you might want to move to and what it will cost. They might even have your dream house on display.

The show is previewed in Country Life here