Much has appeared in the press about an exodus from the cities in search of outdoor space. A trickle? Probably. A flood? Unlikely.
People fleeing cities during times of crisis is as old as the cities themselves. In the 17th century the bubonic plague emptied London of it's wealthier citizens. Smallpox did the same to Paris. More recently, the bombings of the 1980's caused many Londoners to reassess their need to live in the city. Each time, the cities rebounded. Will it be different this time?
It is important to remember the fluid nature of city centre populations. People moving out is not something new. The Office of National Statistic's figures showed that almost 350,000 residents left London during 2018, a similar number the year before. Always, of course, they were replaced by the year's new intake.
There is a constant flow of young people arriving in the cities, attracted by the employment and career advancement on offer. Once there, they enjoy the city culture, the socialising, networking and entertainment that simply cannot be replaced in rural and suburban areas.
Equally, almost as many city residents leave each year, cashing in on highly priced urban properties as they move into the family-building or retirement phases of life.
There has certainly been an uptick in interest in the gardens, cleaner air and slower pace of life. Those who do make the move are willing to accept the price of overcrowded, sweaty and frequently late trains, though an element of home working may make that more acceptable. Most young and ambitious city centre professionals are not prepared to make that sacrifice.
City centre living is about more than being close to work. It is about life, energy, being amongst like minded people. Galleries, boutique shopping, trendy bars and new restaurants. Miilennials who can afford to live in the city centres will stay in the city centres.
Moving to the suburbs will suit many people well, but for many, they are simply bringing forward a lifestyle change that was already looming. Every one of these will be replaced by an eager new city centre resident who is already on the letting agents' waiting lists.
So, a mass exodus? About as likely as seeing a rush for the pub exit when the landlord calls time.