UK homebuyers turning backs on cities could benefit islands
THE CHANNEL ISLANDS could be well placed to capitalise on a trend for homebuyers to turn their backs on cities amid pollution and mental health worries.
HSBC’s latest Beyond the Bricks survey has shown an overall net movement of people out of cities of 4% globally and 6% in the UK – and a senior executive has said Jersey and Guernsey could benefit.
The research revealed that 13% of Brits moving out of cities made the move to escape the impact of pollution on their wellbeing. That is more than those who moved to retire (7%) or pursue more career opportunities (10%).
Mental health was another major trend driving movement, with 15% of Brits saying the potential for improved mental health elsewhere influenced their decision to ‘escape to the country’. More than one in five (22%) moved for a more active lifestyle and 28% moved for a safer environment for their family.
An important factor allowing people to switch from cities was technology. In fact, the rise of flexible working and the increasing ability to work from home has now encouraged more than 13% to move away from cities, while 16% said they moved for a better sense of community.
John Goddard, head of retail banking for HSBC Channel Islands and Isle of Man, said: ‘A new generation of people are starting to value their health more than the location of their home.
‘People who are turning their backs on cities are doing so due to pollution and stress as health and wellbeing rise up their list of priorities.
‘Moving house has become the “pollution solution” and the Channel Islands are well placed to capitalise on this trend if they want to attract top talent from major urban hubs as part of their sustainable population and growth strategies.
‘The islands benefit from fantastic countryside and offer an enviable work-life balance, short commute times and family-friendly facilities, and all that should resonate with those looking to move away from urban environments.’
The figures follow the findings of the most recent HSBC expat explorer survey last year, which found that the Channel Islands and Isle of Man benefit from a better work culture and work-life balance than in many other locations around the world.
In particular, that survey found that 77% of expats found their work-life balance to be better in the islands than in their home country. Meanwhile, 73% agreed that the environment, including air pollution and water quality, was better than their home country.