The lockdown has led to a distinct shift in the preferred property qualities most sought after by prospective homeowners according to new statistics released by PropertyHeads.com.
After analysing the results of over 3,000 searches conducted between April and March 2020, some interesting patterns emerged which show how buyer behaviour has already started to change ahead of the easing of lockdown restrictions.
The results revealed that in the UK, searches for granny annexes (secondary suites) were up by 16%, suggesting that the forced separation from older parents has made many realize that having them close by and ideally in a building attached to the same property is now a key factor in future property purchases. The restrictions on movement have made it apparent to many without adequate garden space that this too needs to be a priority, reflected in a search increase of 12%. In addition, the increased emphasis on home working and the likelihood of this being a more integral part of working life post lockdown has led to a 4% increase in searches for a home office. A desire to escape the close proximity of properties in city locations has also led to an increase of 9% in rural property searches. Furthermore, the overall maximum price searches have fallen by 5%, suggesting that affordability will be a key consideration after lockdown.
The results of the analysis show that the Coronavirus pandemic has already led to a noticeable shift in the preferences of prospective buyers searching for a new property. Whilst the current lockdown has led to the temporary pause in the progression of house purchases, as lockdown is eased over the coming months it is clear that the types of properties which will be in higher demand will be quite different to those which were preferable prior to the lockdown. Finances are likely to be tight for many people following weeks of self isolation and sadly redundancies for some, which is why having access to as much information as possible about a potential property is essential to helping to kickstart the property market after lockdown.
These new findings support those of others in the industry including HaMuch.com which also explored the trends and demand for properties with garden rentals during the lockdown. They too found that demand for properties with garden space had risen. They found that 39% of rental properties listed with a garden in London, UK had been snapped up, showing how popular these particular types of properties are at this time.
Properties with gardens have always been popular and with the weather improving, more people than ever are enticed by the prospects of glorious summer afternoons spent in the garden, or lockdown permitting, hosting a BBQ for family or friends. For many who perhaps had forgone a garden in order to secure a property in a prime location for work, school or study reasons may have found the challenges of lockdown too much to bear and this has spurred them on to look for something which provides a little more outdoor space, should we experience a similar health crisis in the future. Indeed, the views are that novel coronavirus is likely to be around for some time and there is the very real risk that many countries could experience subsequent waves of the epidemic, which have the potential to be even more deadly than the first.
Others who have been separated from their close family may have now been reminded how important to be near their loved ones and will be looking for properties which offer secondary suites. These work well for older family members who still want to retain their independence while having family members on hand should they need any assistance. Secondary suites also work well for young adults who are taking the first steps into independence, but still need to benefit from the protection and care of their parents as they find their feet. What’s more, these properties become lucrative rental opportunities once they are no longer needed by family members, given their complete separation from the main house in terms of main rooms and facilities.
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has turned the property market on it’s head across the world and many believe that it will take many months just to stabilize, let alone recover. Yet the search results from PropertyHeads.com and others do show promising signs that people are still keen to find the perfect property despite the ongoing crisis, it is just a case of waiting for the right time when it is safe and practical to do so. Of course there will be many who may no longer be able to afford the same levels of property as they were prior to the outbreak, but this just means that they’ll likely be more creative and flexible with what they are looking for in order to meet their needs.