The Wealthy Are Leaving Cities For Good.

UBS London California U.S USA

Nearly half of wealthy individuals may move out of cities permanently, according to a new study on lasting life changes after coronavirus.

In a survey of 3,750 wealthy investors, “forty-six percent may forsake cities for less populated areas,” says UBS, a Swiss bank which conducted the poll.

It is just one of the ways in which the wealthy are looking to change their lives for good. Around three quarters will make permanent changes to their lives, says UBS, starting with their lifestyle habits.

Seven in 10 say they will reduce travel and trips to the office. For many this means spending more time with their families: Nearly half want to move closer to their family.

But their top priority is staying healthy, say 88% of the respondents, who include individuals from 15 countries with between $250,000 and $1 million in investable assets.

Despite such savings, over half reckoned they still did not have enough if there was another pandemic, and 54% worry whether there will be anything left for the next generation after Covid-19 finally passes.

Americans are the most worried: “82% of US investors see their old way of life changing forever, which is above the global average of 75%.”

Rich Move To The Country

Many are already putting their plans into action. In the U.K. country houses priced over £5 million ($6.5 million) have seen the strongest price growth of any property type in the country according to Knight Frank.

Their value has shot up 1.2% in the second quarter of 2020, with 137% new prospective buyers for prime country houses.

It is the same story in the U.S., where prices for the top 5% of homes outpaced the rest of the sector in May according to a report from Realtor.com.

Viewings were up 28% in Palm Springs and 56% in the Hamptons compared to January. Even in April, the height of the pandemic, the Hamptons managed to set a 2020 record with the sale of the late James Evans’s home for $45 million.

Meeting the needs of a newly rural and rich set, a range of services more often found in downtown New York and London are moving to the country with them.

Blue-chip art dealers, including Pace, Skarstedt Gallery, and the auction house Sotheby’s, have set up outposts in the Hamptons.

In the same area, Avenues, a for-profit school based in Manhattan, is offering transfers from its New York campus to its newly opened Avenues Studio Hamptons.

In other areas it is the other way around, with wealthy movers looking for places with services they are already acquainted with. Cheltenham is one of the more popular prime rural spots in the U.K., says Knight Frank. Many are drawn by the rural outpost of Soho House: Soho Farmhouse. Former Chelsea and Notting Hill residents are able to order their familiar groceries from Daylesford Organics.

“People are sensing an opportunity now,” says Edward Rook, a partner in Knight Frank’s Country Department. “People have simply decided it’s now or never.”

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