Has the Covid-19 Pandemic made you consider moving home?
The recent trends from estate agents and mortgage providers show that with home working here to stay, at least on a part-time basis, there is a growing demand for homes with a bigger footprint, more internal space to accommodate a home office, garden space or ready access to greenspace and easy access to sustainable transport options.
However, this does not mean the demise of urban living. With reduced demand for urban office and retail space, there is likely to be an increase in change-of-use applications and a rethinking of urban regeneration master-planning to provide flexible working spaces and homes in urban areas with the principles of placemaking at their heart. This shift in demand can provide opportunities to develop well-connected, clean, quiet, safe, diverse and economically vibrant communities and enable the rise of the “15-minute neighbourhood” where the four pillars of proximity, diversity, density and ubiquity are key, enabling people to live near work and leisure and avoid car ownership.
So, you’ve found the right property size, the good school, the transport links, the outdoor space, and the leisure and amenities you desire, but have you considered if the location is good for your health?
With an estimated 25% of all UK properties located in areas of poor air quality where WHO limits of some pollutants are exceeded, it is an important consideration when moving home. Air pollution affects us all and if we have a desire to spend more time at our homes it is important to know the quality of the air that we breathe whilst there. This could become a factor in the type of property and location you choose.
You can compare the air quality at any UK address with WHO limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and small particulates (PM10 and PM2.5) using the tool at https://addresspollution.org developed by Imperial College with The Central Office for Public Interest (COPI). COPI are lobbying for it to be mandatory for the property industry to disclose air quality ratings in Environmental Reports.
While some real estate owners fear that information on poor air quality will negatively affect house prices and commercial rental values, campaigners agree that the growing awareness of air quality levels and the potential effects on our health will be a driver for behavioural change that will accelerate the transition to low/zero emissions transport in our communities and sustainable energy options for our homes and workplaces.
For regulated investment houses, the Covid-19 experience has enhanced the perceived value of sustainable assets with a growing shift towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations. Property developers seeking investment in the post-Covid recovery period will have to deliver on sustainable, environmentally-friendly developments that do not compromise the health of their occupants, patrons or the wider community. This trend will play a significant part in improving air quality in all our communities.
Now that is breath of fresh air.
Our Air Quality Team are trusted advisors to the key stakeholders in property development, providing the highest quality technical expertise and appropriate and timely advice on constraints or issues that arise while identifying opportunities to meet sustainable development goals.