Contrary to the speculation that people would want to move house following lockdown, the majority (72%) plan to remain where they are, with 46% saying they are comfortable, and 21% liking their homes more than before, according to research by HUB Financial Solutions.
The research was carried out by Opinium via a survey of 1,293 UK homeowners between 19 and 21 May 2020; it found that only 13% of respondents felt trapped in their home due to the lockdown.
However, as nearly half (46%) expect to continue some form of home working once lockdown measures have ended, 38% would make changes to their current living space: 12% would build a garden office, 11% would de-open plan their house, and 7% would add an extension.
While respondents themselves did not report a strong desire to move house to gain space, 61% expected demand for houses with dedicated workspaces, or which are large enough to better enable working from home, to increase post COVID-19.
Fewer than one in 10 (8%) said they would move to a house with enough space for an office.
When asked how working from home during lockdown had changed their perception of their homes, over half (51%) of people in urban areas said it was a comfortable place to be; this dropped to 41% for those in the suburbs, contradicting some predictions that the pandemic would be the death of city living.
In London, which has been singled out for speculation over a mass exodus due to the combination of high population density and cost of housing, the results were no different: over half (54%) feel their homes are comfortable places to be, and three in 10 like their homes more since lockdown.
Simon Gray, managing director of HUB Financial Solutions, said: “In this time of change, advisers will need to work closely with their clients, initially to find out if their priorities have changed, and, if so, to help them achieve their aims while not falling foul of volatile markets.
“It’s in difficult times, not when the going is good, that sage advice is invaluable.
“The UK’s lockdown raised questions about our relationships with where we live, as it has become our workplace as well as our home.
“Clearly, many adapted well to these new circumstances in a very short space of time and feel their house is well-suited to working from home.”
“Many people assumed that there would be a real shift away from cities once lockdown ended.
“This does not appear to be the case: just because shops and offices closed, it didn’t mean that people were unhappy in those towns and cities where they’ve put down roots.
“This time has been turbulent enough without predicting mass upheaval in the aftermath.”
Gray added: “It will be interesting to see if employers offer more flexible working, and how much employees adopt it.
“The savings from home-working are substantial for most people’s budgets, so perhaps that will create an increased appetite for flexible working even among those who miss the commute.”