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North Londoners Migrating Into The Home Counties

Posted 5 December 2022 by Lizzie Leigh

Mark Johnson from Griggs Homes tells us about the trend of north London sellers as they migrate into the Home Counties…

Migration out to the Home Counties is proving popular with north Londoners in this post-pandemic phase. WhatHouse? speaks to Mark Johnson from Griggs Homes about the trend…

Mark, how long have you been with Griggs Homes?

I have been with Griggs for just over two and a half years now, so I’m finally settling in after the strange couple of years we have all had!

The business operates in north London and the Home Counties, are there any areas in particular that are outperforming others at the moment?

Popular towns in Hertfordshire like Radlett, Borehamwood and Elstree are all performing extremely well, as they offer the best of all worlds – convenient access to London and great local amenities, as well as more space and room to breathe.

Is movement from north London out to the leafy Home Counties a logical progression for many of your buyers, as they reach different life stages?

It’s definitely true that the Covid pandemic, and in particular the lockdown periods, made people really think about what was important to them – and in many cases that was a desire to embrace a “countryside” lifestyle, with more emphasis on gardens and space, which is so expensive and hard to find in much of London. As a result, we have seen a huge trend of buyers moving out from North London into parts of Hertfordshire and the Home Counties looking for a better quality of life for their money. The benefits for homebuyers can be huge, as once you get away from the city you can find larger plots and gardens for a much more sensible budget.

And do you see a reverse cycle of downsizers moving back in towards central London once they have raised their family in the Home Counties?

In my experience it’s generally a one-way move. Financially, going back into London doesn’t always work, as buyers selling a large family home in the Home Counties will have to downsize considerably to move back into a more central location as they will get far less for their money there. They also tend to want to stay close to their family and children who may be based nearby, so in most instances even if they downsize they tend to stay fairly local. One thing we have noticed, however, is a significant trend of downsizers relocating from places like Manchester to North London and the Home Counties. This is often because their children have grown up and moved to London to progress their careers and so parents move to be closer to them. One long-lasting effect of the Covid lockdowns has been a new appreciation of how important it is to be close to our loved ones.

Each of your developments is very different in style - are you always sure about what will work best in the local market?

We carry out extensive research and ensure that we are aware of our buyer demographic before embarking on a development. This is often as early as the planning stage when we are deciding on the required accommodation mix to maximise the site and ensure that the scheme will be successful. Once we understand the accommodation mix that is required, we can then tailor our internal specification and finishes to best suit our target market.

Which design features are proving particularly popular for buyers at the moment?

A recent popular trend has been internal Crittall-style glazing and doors. We have implemented this into a few of our schemes to create a modern and contemporary finish and this has been really well received.

What new homes are you marketing at the current time?

We have had a very successful summer, with only a couple of apartments remaining in developments we have recently completed in Radlett (Hillside House) and Stanmore (Nouveau Apartments). We have had great success with forward sales on our development The Stables in Borehamwood and Woodlands Manor in Elstree which have sold extremely well off-plan. We are entirely sold out at The Stables and Woodlands Manor only has two apartments remaining. We will shortly be launching our latest exciting development, Bentley Gardens, located in Bentley Heath, so watch this space!

Woodlands Manor (Griggs Homes)

Are you offering any incentives to buyers at any of the schemes?

Our homes are currently selling really well and in most cases six to nine months in advance of completion. Our specification and finishes are very high, and we find that this is often enough of an incentive for buyers to choose their next home from us.

How are the local markets performing in the regions that you cover?

Performance is still very strong at the moment. With the current economic backdrop it’s hard to say what the next 12 months will hold, but we remain confident that while the rate of transactions may slow down demand for new homes will remain, as fundamentally there is a significant lack of high-quality new build properties in Hertfordshire and the surrounding areas.

What's the best piece of advice you could give to a buyer of a new home?

The most important thing is to ensure you buy from a reputable developer with a good track record for customer care. There will be teething issues with any new home so you need to have confidence that your developer will be there to support you and deal with any issues that may arise after completion.

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