According to the latest ONS data , the number of people working exclusively from home has reached 24 per cent, making fast internet connectivity and space for a home office front of mind among thousands of buyers across the country.
Marcus and Caroline Millichope, aged 47 and 46 respectively, moved to their new home at Berkeley's development Hollyfields in the middle of lockdown, having previously lived in a smaller house just a 10-minute walk away.
Before the outbreak of COVID-19, Marcus, a visual effects artist for TV and film, used to commute to his Soho office daily, while Caroline's job as an international sales director involved frequent trips to London and abroad. Since they've moved to their four-bedroom detached house at Hollyfields, they've been working exclusively from home, taking advantage of the generous layout and superfast broadband available throughout their new house.
"I work in the TV industry, so having fast internet connectivity was one of the most important things for me over the past seven months. I regularly need to download hundreds of gigabytes worth of content, so fast-speed internet was a must", said Marcus. After living in a three-bedroom house, the couple were delighted to move to a large home, where they immediately converted one of the smaller bedrooms into a home office and started using the large bay window area in the lounge as a workspace.
Before lockdown, the couple were frequently travelling to London for work, so being walking distance from a train station was an important consideration. They like the fact that Hollyfields runs a dedicated shuttle service for the residents, making it faster to get to the station.
"In terms of design, the best thing about our new home is its configuration", said Caroline. "We have a large open-plan kitchen and a casual dining area. The house is nice and wide, arranged over two floors, and has high ceilings. Because of all this space, we haven't been cramped together while working from home since April", she added. Marcus's son, Rufus, spends half of the week with the couple, and thanks to the generous layout of the house, every family member enjoys a good amount of space and privacy.
The family's four-bedroom house comes with a large garden, where they've installed a barbecue and created an outdoor lounge area. "It's such a lovely entertaining space. We are very lucky to have been able to have neighbours and friends over for socially distanced drinks in our garden during the heatwave."
Marcus moved to Tunbridge Wells from London 10 years ago, prior to the recent increase in popularity of more rural locations. "I grew up in Battersea. After coming down to Tunbridge Wells for a friend's birthday, I instantly fell in love with this town - it's got a lot of charm, lovely people and great restaurants. I went back to London and started looking for a place in Tunbridge Wells shortly after", said Marcus. Caroline, originally from Cheshire, moved to Tunbridge Wells after meeting Marcus while visiting her friends who lived in town.
"We love living at Hollyfields. There's a fantastic restaurant - The Lyle - right on our doorstep", said Marcus. "My favourite thing about living here is having open green spaces right on our doorstep, which is great for dog walking."
Having used Berkeley's Part Exchange scheme, the couple were able to sell their previous house within 10 weeks. "The whole process was very fast, and Berkeley guided us every step of the way. Without their assistance, it would have taken us much longer", said Caroline.