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Has Covid Caused ‘Urban Flight’ to Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire?

There’s no doubt about it, the coronavirus pandemic has inevitably changed all our lives and with the summer months here, we are all hopeful for ordinary life to resume, but many of us are heading into a very different ‘normal’ to the one we knew previously.

Staggeringly, research shows that the population of London is expected to fall in 2021, for the first time in 30 years. Many are escaping the city in search of more spacious housing at a more reasonable price point.

We’ve already seen demand grow for rural properties in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire and this shows no sign of slowing down – and here’s why.

Changing Priorities

The most obvious difference in most of our lives is remote working, and many believe this change is here to stay. A recent report found that three in every four office workers would be willing to accept a slight pay cut in return for a fully remote working pattern.

Even considering the hugely challenging economic turmoil of the past twelve months, house prices in the UK have grown astronomically. Interestingly, homes in rural areas have increased in price twice as much as those in cities.

The Commute Still Matters

Although the pandemic dramatically altered how we work and live, people still like to be within reach of big cities, especially London and that’s why we have seen such demand for the stunning properties we have on the market in areas including Biggleswade – just a 40 minute commute to London Kings Cross. We understand that for those who have lived and worked in London for years, commutable distance to the capital is non-negotiable when considering relocation.

Rising House Prices

House prices rose dramatically throughout 2020, with the slowest increase occurring in London. This is primarily due to the stamp duty holiday combined with the increasing desire for homes with outdoor space.

Two of the most sought-after areas are Luton, Bedfordshire and St Albans, Hertfordshire. Both offer the tranquillity of rural living with the ease of access directly into London, with individuals willing to pay a premium to live in these towns.

Rental Vs Purchase

Interestingly, there appears to be a stark contrast between those who rent and those who own their home.

Rental tenancies in London are at their lowest rate in years, which is encouraging individuals into more central locations. Many who could not afford to live in Zone 1 or 2 previously are making the most of the decreased cost of living.

However, 2021 has seen the extension of the stamp duty holiday for those purchasing a property, and the start of the 5% mortgage deposit scheme. Therefore, many buyers, especially those buying their first home, are drawn to commuter towns in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, offering larger spaces and easy access to the city.

Sticking Close to Home

The reports from Rightmove and Zoopla show that while the effects of the pandemic are forcing people out of the city, they tend to stay relatively close to the areas they know and love.

Individuals rarely make dramatic, cross-country moves, hence the remarkable increase in those looking to move to the commuter belt. Gardens and proximity to local parks are at the top of most people’s lists when searching for a new home in 2021.
This is something that Satchells can help with! Call us on 01462 410394 or email us at to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team and let us help you with your next move.


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