London: House prices in the UK suburbs outpaced those in city centers during the pandemic as people traded shorter commutes for gardens and indoor space to work from home, figures published Saturday show.
In the areas surrounding major cities, property values grew an average 10.8% between March 2020 and June this year, according to mortgage lender Halifax, whose figures exclude London. For city centers, the increase was a more muted 8.9%.
The data show how Covid-19 has reshaped the housing market as families fled the pandemic for more sparsely populated locations, a trend seen across major economies from France to the U.S.
The ability to work from home has prompted many Britons to reassess their priorities and splurge pent-up savings on houses big enough to double up as offices. The shift away from crowded urban living has contributed to the largest annual increase in U.K. house prices for 17 years.
"As consumers look for value in the market, that inevitably leads people to look further afield from major city centers, where you tend to get more property for your money," said Andrew Asaam, mortgages director at Halifax.
Only the very north of England bucked the trend. In Newcastle, prices rose more quickly than in outlying areas. The nearby district of North Tyneside saw house prices decline during the pandemic.