Empowering the Freelance Economy

Just how far would you commute for the ideal property?

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92% of hybrid workers and PAYE contractors are willing to commute further to get their desired property or location. Many freelancers though took the risk to go freelance to avoid the commute altogether.

According to the latest report from Zoopla UK house prices have continued to increase by £44 per day on average across the past six months, while the number of homes available to buy has fallen by 28% compared to 2020.  No surprise then that 9 in 10 hybrid workers (92%), who divide their time between home and the office, are now willing to commute further to buy or rent their desired property or live in their preferred location.

Interestingly, many hybrid workers believe this new way of working is improving mortgage affordability. Die-hard freelancers though will only commute for select clients, so their chances of landing an ideal property and location are even higher since their “daily commute” could be just feet away.

Freelance copywriter Bob (“Bobble”) Bardsley @bobblebardsley· said he’d be willing to travel for the occasional client meeting but because he doesn’t work on-site, his daily commute is six feet from his bed to his desk. And on occasion, he might just start the workday from bed. Because he can.

Jane, a proofreader and owner of 33 South Textworks, believes that remote workers must grapple with commute times far more than freelancers… “The best thing about freelancing is rarely having to commute.”

Not so far away from Bardsley is another Manchester-based freelancer, events and productivity specialist (1) Ece Kurtaraner ⛵️ (@EceKurtaraner) / Twitter, who gives her thoughts on commuting, which are on her own terms:

“For me, the beauty of freelancing is the free part. Today I came to Liverpool from Manchester to work from for example. Some days I can’t even commute from my bed to my desk.”

Ece Kurtaraner, freelance events specialist

Just how far are you willing to commute for the ideal home or location?

Most people living in the UK are willing to add an extra half hour, and as many as one in three are ready to commute up to 44 minutes longer just to snag that perfect property, according to a survey conducted by price comparison site, NerdWallet.

But we could see more first time buyers move to smaller villages and market towns to get their money’s worth, more outside space and get that first step on the property ladder.

Alex Waters, a freelancer who lives in Bath, one of the UK’s prettiest cities, commutes a couple of times each month to London.

“Two hours door to door and that’s my limit.”

Alex Waters, copywriter and occassional commuter

“Commute? I wouldn’t. For me, no commute was one of the many drivers behind going freelance.”

Sarah Townsend, freelancer champion, copywriter and author

The NerdWallet study found that 69% of hybrid workers are now commuting to work for three days or less on average each week. As a result, 58% of hybrid workers said that they would commute further to afford their first property or take the next step on the housing ladder. 

When it comes to how much further hybrid workers would be prepared to commute to secure their ideal property or location the survey found:

  • 16% would add up to 14 minutes 
  • 43% would add 15 to 29 minutes
  • 32% would add 30 to 44 minutes
  • 4% would add 45 to 59 minutes 
  • 5% would travel over an hour extra. 
Andre Spiteri (pictured) said having the freedom to work anywhere was a major driver for going freelance, so commuting doesn’t really come into the equation when it comes to finding the ideal property.

“A big thing for me was being able to work from anywhere.”

Andre Spiteri, fintech copywriter

The longer the commute the better chance of getting on the property ladder?

Alongside the evolution of the workplace, the continued rise of house prices and the acute shortage of homes for sale are likely to be additional factors encouraging people to widen their property searches. According to the latest report from Zoopla UK house prices have continued to increase by £44 per day on average across the past six months, while the number of homes available to buy has fallen by 28% compared to 2020. 

“The main purpose of our research was to find out if the move towards more flexible ways of working has impacted how people conduct their property searches,” said Richard Eagling, Senior Personal Finance Expert at NerdWallet. 

“It is clear from the results that spending more time at home and fewer days in the workplace is making people more open to a longer commute. Hybrid working combined with rising house prices seem to be compelling reasons why many individuals are prepared to travel that little bit further in order to find their desired property or live in their preferred location.”

Hybrid working: is it helping mortgage affordability?

Interestingly, the survey also found 51% of hybrid workers think that the financial benefits of remote and hybrid working, such as reducing their monthly outgoings through spending less on travel and other work expenses, could improve a mortgage lender’s perception of a person’s ability to afford a mortgage.

Richard Eagling added: “It’s great to think that working from home more often could help some people to fulfil their dreams of owning a property or moving to a home that is more suited to their needs or preferences. By commuting to their workplace less and reducing their monthly outgoings, it could allow them to better save for a deposit and improve their mortgage affordability; a definite positive of the hybrid model.”

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