Extend your commute to find your dream home

Latest research from estate agent Jackson-Stops reveals that, post-lockdown, more than eight in 10 homeowners would now be prepared to extend their total commute time by at least 30 minutes.

Following a survey conducted by the national agent, which asked more than 3,000 UK consumers if they would consider extending their commute if it meant they could live in their dream location, Jackson-Stops found that almost 40% would extend their commute by 45 minutes or more, with nearly a fifth of these respondents prepared to spend over an hour longer on their daily commute (please see the table below for the full overview of responses). Overall, 81% of respondents said that they would now increase their commute by at least 30 minutes. 
According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2019 the average total daily commute time was just over 37 minutes, however with Covid-19 set to spark a significant change in employers’ ‘working from home’ guidelines as more employees prove themselves to be efficient workers from their home study, dining room table or even their bedroom, the average commute time could look to increase significantly over the coming years as the frequency in which these employees travel to and from work drops.
Jackson-Stops branches from across the Group have already started to see buyers consider new locations which may have otherwise been too far of a commute from their city-based jobs in the past. Jackson-Stops’ Ipswich branch for example has experienced an influx of families looking to either move from London or locations outside of Suffolk in a bid to experience a more relaxed work life balance near the water.

Jonathan Penn, Director of Jackson-Stops' Ipswich branch comments: “Since the property market reopened, our Ipswich branch has experienced significant interest from Londoners who’ve decided to up sticks and move to the coast. The first questions that buyers now ask us is about the connectivity to London and the Wi-Fi speed in the area, with a future of working from home and commuting a few days a week becoming the new normal for many. Buyers from the city almost always prioritise being well connected to London, as some are still planning to travel in every day, while others just a handful of times a week. The local trains take around an hour to travel to London; but a real selling point is that all of the trains are newly designed and there’s a strong chance of getting a seat.

“The majority of buyers that are coming from a city location already have a connection to the area, having either holidayed here, rented a property by the coast or know someone that lives here already.”

Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, adds: “Since the housing market lockdown eased in May, Jackson-Stops branches from across the Group from Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds to Bridport in the South West have experienced significant demand from buyers looking to permanently relocate from city locations to the countryside. For many, this decision to move further afield has come following discussions with employers about how often they realistically need to be present in the office, sparked after months of working effectively from home.
“Many professionals believe they will continue to work from home on a regular basis, and so a longer commute to work is no longer as big a concern as it once was. Our research found that in fact almost 20% of the UK would be willing to extend their commute by more than an hour if it meant they could live in their desired location – so we could expect to see commuter hotspots evolving significantly over the next few years. For many, the length of the commute will no longer be a contributing factor, while the strength of broadband in a countryside location will become a key priority.”

Table 1. Covid-19 has left many of us reflecting on our commute and ‘WFH’ situation. If you were to move home, would you now consider extending your commute if it meant you could live in your dream location?
Total responses
Yes, I’d add 30 minutes to my total journey   42.6%
Yes, I’d add between 45 minutes to an hour to my total journey   19.3%
Yes, I’d add more than an hour to my total journey   18.9%
No, I wouldn’t extend my commute   19%

Jackson-Stops surveyed 3,002 UK consumers via its owned social media channels between 17th and 24th June 2020.

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