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Taking the city with you

There is no question that the way we view our homes has changed dramatically since the start of the pandemic forced us to adapt our daily lifestyles to accommodate new ways of living and working. This has not only caused us to re-evaluate the functionality of our homes, it has prompted us to reconsider our location, with many people looking to relocate to the countryside.

The shift in focus from urban to rural living is taking the homebuying market by storm. However, that’s not to say that we have to leave our city lifestyles behind us completely.

Changing motivations

As part of a recent webinar looking at the future of town and country living, Strutt & Parker reached out to potential homebuyers to find out more about their motivations for moving, and the features they would now consider essential in a new home.

Rather unsurprisingly, the main priority for those looking to relocate was the desire for green space – whether this be a house with a garden, or a home in a countryside location.

The second priority was living space. With so many of our homes now doubling up as workspaces, people are looking for larger living spaces, spare bedrooms and home office potential.

The remainder of responses were all in some way centred around connectivity – moving closer to family or friends, the desire to be based within a community environment or to maintain the ability to stay connected digitally.

However, while many of us might now be considering a fresh start in the countryside, that’s not to say there aren’t elements of our urban lifestyles we may wish to retain. So does a move to the country have to be a hard-and-fast switch, or is there the possibility of merging these lifestyles to factor in our priorities, new and established?

Urban nostalgia

In our current climate, the city is not able to function as it once did. Iconic elements of city life such as the morning commute, arts and culture, international travel links and eating out have all been severely limited by the current restrictions. This has made it all the more difficult for city-dwellers to adapt to the changing circumstances than those in the country, whose everyday lifestyles did not rely so heavily on such activities.

Those who would once have spent ten percent of their time in a house or a flat are now being forced to spend a far greater majority of their time there due to reduced office capacity and home working schedules – a feat which for many, is proving unsustainable.

Thus we can see that while a move to the countryside might seem an attractive alternative considering the current state of the city, the decision to relocate is not always so much down to desire, than is to necessity, with many retaining a sense of nostalgia for the metropolitan lifestyle they once enjoyed.

We consider how homebuyers might be able to achieve the best of both worlds – taking their favourite elements of their city homes with them to the countryside.

Taking the city with you

  • Working space: remote working is likely to continue as the norm, at least for the foreseeable future. Creating a separate, dedicated home office space is important not only for productivity, giving the illusion of ‘going to work’, but also for your mental health, helping you separate work from home life and enabling you to close the door on your office at the end of the working day.
  • Introduce technology: what do you miss most about your office? The multiple desktop screens, the video conference technology or perhaps just the coffee machine? Whatever it is you valued most, now is your chance to invest in your own office space, adapting it to work for you.
  • Raise the roof: rural homes tend to be built with low ceilings or low hanging beams. If you have to the option to extend upwards, lifting the roof in your rural property can do wonders in improving your sense of height and space.
  • Let the light in: skylights and full height windows will help sunlight reach every corner of your country home, enhancing the space and adding a touch of modernity, reminiscent of those glass buildings and office blocks you left behind.
  • Keep it sleek: modern, urban properties are often decorated in light colours that provide a clean, spacious and airy feel. Opting for white walls and pale floors is a great way to give your country home a lift, saving it from feeling stuffy and dated.
  • Capitalise on your social spaces: Entertaining is the new eating out. Opening up your downstairs living spaces will enable you to the make the most of your social time. Knocking through to create open plan kitchen with dedicated dining space is a great way to achieve a flexible entertaining space, provide an open and sociable atmosphere in the intimacy of your home.

Read more about Strutt & Parker’s predictions for the future of homes and living spaces on our blog for further reading on the future of homes in the town and country.

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