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Moving to the City Putting Village Life At Risk

by Alison Feemantle

Recent property news has highlighted regional anomalies in the current housing market. Figures released last week indicate that while demand for new properties grew in London by around 0.4%, elsewhere in the country there were some notable slumps.

That contrast is highlighted again today with news that more and more buyers are moving away from the villages and back to the towns and cities as recession starts to take hold. As a result, property experts suggest that a depressed market in rural areas is the only logical conclusion.

The public transport network has historically allowed commuters to enjoy a more idyllic life in the outlying villages. Some of these commuters are occasionally featured on regional TV taking a long trip from the North of England into the capital.

However, that trend seems to be disappearing as Estate Agents Smiths Gore suggest,

“In Yorkshire, buyers are keen to avoid the lengthy commute into the cities and are moving from the outlying villages back into towns,” said Smiths Gore’s Andrew Turner.

That lengthy commute is an obvious reason for this shift. Higher train fares and increasing petrol prices make a longer journey into work far less attractive. There is however another issue here and it may surprise many to hear of its contribution to this pattern.

We were all led to believe that so-called teleworking was the future: With a telephone and an internet connection to hand, workers across the country were moving away from the daily commute and setting up a home office to liaise directly with their employers.

Occasional visits to the main office would have been necessary but on the whole, teleworking was the way forward for many firms. Once again however, Smiths Gore are suggesting that the trend is quickly being reversed.

“There has been a real push from employers to get people back into the office,” said Fin Hughes of Smiths Gore’s Andover branch. “They feel that offering the luxury of working from home is no longer financially viable. They need to feel that they’re getting real value from their employees.”

With the teleworking option taken away from those living in remote villages, the only sensible option from a financial point of view is to move to towns and cities with better transport links.

Overall, experts suggest that this is just beginning and the disparity between the rural and suburban housing markets is set to increase dramatically in the coming months and years.

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