Since the property market reopened following the Covid19 pandemic, we have all placed much more importance on our home environment. The pandemic had a lasting affect on our priorities and as a result there was an increased demand for larger homes to accommodate home or hybrid working. There was also an increase in demand for outside space as foreign travel was less likely, an increase in popularity in homes close to green open space, and a move away from urban homes which tend to be smaller.
But which of these trends look set to stay for the next few years?
There was a fall in demand for family homes and apartments in cities and a higher numbers of those looking for rural homes. Dubbed the ‘race for space’ home buyers realised that they could buy more space for their money by moving away from urban areas. However, since the announcement that offices would ask staff to return to office-based working, there has been a return to demand for homes in cities. In addition, with universities operating as normal there has been a return to more normal levels of those looking for rental and buy-to-let homes in university towns. Zoopla has seen a 50% rise in rural home movers going back to cities compared to the same period during restrictions in 2021.
Before the pandemic, people looking for a property on Rightmove didn’t limit their search to property types but would instead opt for any property type as long as it offered the right amount of space and location. However, the shift in priorities has seen an increase in demand specifically for two or three bedroom houses. This is because of the demand for a garden space – in fact the search term ‘garden’ on the portal has seen a 70% increase.
Although home buyers are set on a particular property type, location doesn’t seem to be as important. If they find the right house but in an alternative location this is very much seen as a viable option. People are prioritising space, a garden, additional rooms for home working…so location is something people are willing to compromise on if they can meet the internal and garden requirements. People have even been broadening their search location by up to 58 square miles. Buyers realised that by expanding their search radius they would be shown a large number of additional homes which is ideal where supply has been limited.
Before the pandemic, many people placed importance on being near a train or bus link but now this was not a priority during the two years of lockdowns and restrictions. However, we are now seeing the return of high demand for homes close to commuter stations.
During 2020, houses were the most in-demand property type as people looked for more space inside and out. However, as people return to normal and start to commute back to offices, there has been a rise in demand for flats in cities. Three-bedroom flats are in high demand and have overtaken demand for three-bedroom houses as they are looking for space paired with affordability.