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Will people flee big cities in favour of the countryside post-coronavirus?

As the country gets to grips with the government's next phase of tackling the coronavirus pandemic, experts are already discussing how the virus might impact societal behaviour and patterns of the future.

According to Alistair Brown, chief executive of Alistair Brown International Real Estate, people will learn and adapt in response to what they have experienced and make the necessary changes to ensure they do not find themselves in a similar situation again.

One of the potential results of this is that there will be increased migration from large cities to more rural, less densely populated areas.


There have been various assertions that large cities all over the world, including the likes of London, New York and Toronto, could experience a drop in demand for property as consumers look for homes which tick all the boxes for their lifestyle priorities.

Brown, whose company is based in the UK and focuses on international property, says that one of the main reasons behind this shift will be 'escaping confinement'.

"People will be feeling claustrophobic and nowhere is this more apparent than in highly populated areas, where confinement is restricted even further to a small apartment," he says.

"It’s no secret that space is scarce in what once were, popular and desirable cities to live and work in. While this was previously a sacrifice people were willing to make, having now felt this level of confinement, this will no doubt change."

He says that the post-virus home checklist will increasingly feature things like multiple spacious rooms, gardens and fewer neighbours.

Another lesson learned during the pandemic, according to Brown, which will impact on people's living decisions is the shift to working from home - something he thinks will continue for the foreseeable future.

"Having been forced to work remotely, with little warning or time to prepare in most cases, many will have recognised the benefits of having multiple rooms or more space where an at-home office can be set up," he explains.

"With [potentially] less need to travel to a city centre office, employees can enjoy the freedom of no longer having to take into consideration their commutes when searching for a new home, enabling them to move further away."

The third reason why Brown thinks people will start to move from cities to rural areas is due to long-term health concerns caused by the spread of Covid-19.

He says people living in densely populated urban areas will have experienced a greater risk of being exposed to the virus.

"After feeling this level of threat to yourself or your family, it is no surprise that you will be more inclined to move somewhere further away to reduce the chance of ever experiencing this danger again," adds Brown.

He says that the risk of living in apartment blocks is bolstered by the need to use public transport in large urban centres.


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