The past two years has seen a significant shift from the city as the hub of all business activity to what is becoming a flexible workspace for those who want to come into the office. In fact, a recent report showed that footfall in London stands at just 35% of pre-pandemic levels, with figures from IW Capital (https://iwcapital.co.uk) showing that, on top of a lack of commuters and foreign tourists, nearly 3 million people moved out of cities during the pandemic. This exodus from the Capital has, it seems, also provided an exodus of capital with the demand for houses costing in excess of £1million rising outside the Greater London area, accounting for over half of purchases for the first time since 1995. This shift in where the wealthy live will provide a boost for the regions outside of London, with IW Capital's research showing that 42% of investors planning to support a local business or entrepreneur who benefits their community. With the rise of community focused investment and the significant increase in the number of businesses started during the pandemic - over 800,000 in 2020 alone - local economies up and down the country are in line for a significant boost from private investors. One prime example of this is IW Capital CEO Luke Davis, who as a resident of Hove, has led a multi-million pound investment and renovation project on the seafront, creating a community hub and world-class entertainment venue known as Rockwater Hove (https://rockwater.uk).
Luke Davis, CEO of IW Capital discusses: "The pandemic has had an impact on the UK in ways that we could never have predicted, with wealthy individuals previously tied to City of London desks now free to move and live away from urban centres. This has created a new class of investor, one more concerned with the impact their capital is having and the difference it makes to their local area. It is hard to have an impact on a city like London alone, but by moving to the regions, new opportunities to effect change have arisen.