Demand for home offices has increased since lockdown began, in the first hint of how the UK property investment market may change after the pandemic.
According to research from estate agents Benham and Reeves, in London alone demand for homes with an office has risen from eight per cent to 28 per cent since March 2020. This demand is higher in London’s more peripheral boroughs, suggesting that homebuyers are less concerned about their commuting distance when remote working is an option.
Alternative property lender Wellesley has similarly noticed a spike in requests for new property developments which contain a home office, in anticipation of a long-term change in working habits.
“The belief amongst property professionals is that workers will spend at least part of their week working at home in the short term and a change as fundamental as this is likely to change working patterns over the long term as well,” said Simon Betty, head of credit at Wellesley Finance.
“Homes are often not well suited for home working and so new builds will look to find space to cater for home workers with dedicated office space or at least areas where home workers can shut themselves away. Totally open plan buildings may become less attractive to purchasers.”
Betty has also noticed that domestic internet connectivity has increasingly become a priority for property buyers, as they realise the need to have a fast and reliable connection for home working. As remote working becomes more popular, demand for commercial property could also change.
“An interesting question is how much office space will become redundant and whether this will be an opportunity for live/work-space in town centres,” added Betty.
“Live/work space has been around for some time but it has never taken off and become a mainstream offering. Maybe its time has come.”