Online searches for accommodation in London have soared this year while those for country properties are in freefall according to new analysis providing the latest evidence of a “boomerang” return to the capital.
The volume of searches using the term “rooms to rent London” is up 98 per cent on 2021 so far this year while those for “shared ownership London” is 48 per cent higher.
Over the same period searches for “houses for sale in Cornwall” are down 46 per cent and “houses for sale in Devon” 37 per cent lower, according to data from specialist analysts MediaVision.
London rents fell and property prices flatlined during the pandemic when thousands of residents decided to move out of the metropolis in a “race for space” quest for more room to work from home and a garden.
However, as offices have reopened since last summer interest in city living has revived strongly, particularly for flats.
MediaVision’s chief executive Louis Venter said: “Online search behaviour is such an important indicator of people’s thoughts and decision-making process, especially when it comes to home-buying and property rental. The data suggests that many in the south east are keen to move closer to the office now that working from home is no longer required.
“Although we saw many retreat from urban life when Covid was rife, this data suggests people aren’t as enthusiastic about coastal and commuter town living as they once thought. As we get used to this new normal of hybrid working, it will be interesting to examine whether people continue heading back to the capital.”
The data comes as estate agents Chestertons said it has seen a dramatic spike in competition for houses in London over recent weeks leading to a sellers’ market.
Its analysis suggests there were 51 per cent more new buyers and 35 per cent more viewings than in January last year.
At the same time, the number of available properties for sale has fallen by 8 per cent compared to January 2021.
Chestertons chief executive Guy Gittins said: “Last year, we saw many house hunters feeling left in limbo as the impact of the pandemic created a strong sense of economic uncertainty. Since then, buyer confidence has clearly returned and there has been a drastic increase in demand for houses and apartments alike.
“To see new buyer enquiries of this scale at the beginning of the year is truly remarkable and a strong indication for the market to remain buoyant for at least the first half of 2022.”
According to Chestertons London areas in particularly high demand with buyers include Islington, Camden, Battersea, Clapham, Fulham, Barnes and South Kensington.
This content was originally published here.