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Rural renaissance

19 June 2020

Rural renaissance

Having to work from home and not being able to travel during the lockdown (unless your name happens to be Dominic Cummings) has made people re-evaluate their work/life balance.

Many are realising that they might not really need to go to the office as frequently in the future. Indeed, some in the upper income brackets are showing keen interest in having second homes in the countryside. Instead of the traditional model of having the rural bolthole for weekends, it would become the main residence.

Upmarket estate agents report surging interest in prime country properties with enough space, or even a separate outbuilding, for a home office, as well as a sizeable garden. After all, many people have been discovering the value of having green space nearby as a contrast to four walls.

One property consultant reported recently that buyers in London have been earnestly looking for homes in Winchester, The Cotswolds, Suffolk, Norfolk and, even, York, from where they could commute a couple of days a week.

With more pressure to reduce urban traffic and to protect the environment, plus the desire of many to shorten or eliminate commuting time, an emerging trend could be for businesses to relocate from cities altogether.

If so, this would be significant for the hire industry. People extending properties would require builders who, in turn, would need equipment from local hirers. The same applies for landscaping work.

Brett Thompson, MD of Bristol-based Alide Plant Hire, first noticed this trend well before the Covid-19 outbreak. “One of our valued customers is a contractor who specialises in renovating rural properties into luxury accommodation,” he told me recently. “He’s been working flat out for some time. It’s good business for us  - and delivering all that kit in a rural area is much less hassle than in a city.”

(Image by 1778011 from Pixabay)


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