Why do people move to live in city centres? To be close to the office? To be close to the action? For pubs, restaurants, shops, bravado. People pay a ‘premium’ to live in plush city centre pads that offer convenience when it comes to ‘amenities’ because people like living the city life where everything is happening.
This is why we invest in property in the city? Big prices but better rewards…
The current problem is… Nothing is currently happening in city centres.
Offices are advising work from home, many businesses are now coming to terms with zoom calls as the new norm and many businesses are realising that their employees can do ‘just as good’ by working from home. Some big businesses are either downsizing city centre premises or leaving them completely. No more is a ‘central based’ office easy for everyone to get to. Advice is not to use public transport, advice is stay away from your office if you can.
It’s the same with bars and restaurants, whilst governments ‘advise’ what we should do, it leaves confusion in the air. No more can you simply ‘turn up’ at your favourite city centre bar. Book in advance, make an appointment. You don’t need to ‘live’ in the city centre to do all this?
Shops too, those city centre boutiques designed in colourful wallpaper and creaky wooden floors now covered in plastic and one way systems with sanitiser on arrival. Less appealing. Falling footfall down to government restriction. It seems ‘everyone’ is now shopping online. It’s simply so much easier and ‘safer’.
So what do we need the city centre for? Not for work? Not for pleasure? Not for shopping?
In America they don’t really do ‘city centre’ (sorry center)…. Everything is mostly accessible by car and if you want shops you drive to the mall, a retail park or designer village… If you want restaurants you simply pick the best one and pull up outside, if you want to go to the office in the UK I soon vision larger premises on the side of motorways that you can frequent once a fortnight at most. No longer are the days in Britain that the city centre is essential.
This is why people are moving out.
Why pay a premium for something that offers nothing? People wanting high spec modern apartments can pay 50% less one or two miles outside the city centre. Whilst this drives prices down inside the city, those in the suburbs rise, and as an investor it is the best time to realise this… To simply hop on the train and beat the curve.
Our future is changing, whether it be due to pandemic or politics? It is changing for life and we will all change the way we do things from now on. Like what we invest in and where we live.
Paying premium for city centre occupancy is a thing of the past, suburbia is the new city, more for your money is the new more for your money, garden space is the new floor size.
Whilst I see a fall in those smart looking properties now redundant to empty city centres we will have a rise in property that offers ‘more’ in the wider geography and as people leave their plush pads for something perhaps ‘closer’ to what they call home, it is those with investments in little old suburbia that might just prosper.
Keep your eye on it because things are changing… The way we invest, the way we buy things, is not how it used to be no more.