With the housing market back open for business, buyers and renters are re-evaluating their criteria.
More than half of homehunters have changed their priorities since the start of the coronavirus lockdown.
We surveyed more than 2,000 buyers and renters to reveal just how much their attitudes have changed since the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, introduced strict measures on 23 March 2020.
Scroll down to find out more.
First up, what are homehunters’ appetites for moving now?
The picture looks promising. An enormous 86% of buyers and renters who intended to move home before the coronavirus crisis took hold still expect to do so.
94% of first-time buyers across the UK remain committed to moving in the next 12 months, with 13% saying the lockdown had accelerated their plans to snap up property.
However, concerns about the impact of coronavirus have hampered some people’s plans. Of those who have delayed their property search, 31% were mindful that house prices may fall, 30% were worried about the UK economy, and 22% were concerned about their employment and household income.
But of all the age groups, it’s young buyers and renters that expect to be most impacted by economic uncertainty, with 61% of under 35s citing concerns about their employment, income and getting a mortgage or deposit.
So what features are homehunters prioritising?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the new property ‘must-have’ is an office. More than one in five of those surveyed (22%) claimed that having an office area has become more of a priority, with this increasing to 34% among those aged between 35 and 49.
Properties that are located close to friends and family (21%), and that offer the ability to do exercise at home (20%), have become more important for homehunters of all ages too.
Interestingly, proximity to pubs and shops has come in further down the ranking, with just 13% of respondents prioritising it.
The survey also revealed that one in five young homehunters (aged under 35) are more likely to strike a compromise on their criteria, such as expanding their search area in order to afford a garden. In contrast, 60% of those aged 35 and over haven’t changed their property priorities at all.
However, it is not just features that are being reassessed. Some 44% of buyers and renters whose criteria have changed now want to be closer to the countryside, parks or the coast.
What is driving the shift?
Homehunters’ change in lifestyle, and in particular the move to working from home, since the lockdown kicked in has had a major knock-on effect.
Some 34% of buyers and renters anticipate working from home more often, with 85% expecting to spend the same or fewer hours working.
The younger respondents feel the shift more acutely, with 42% of under 65s planning to work from home more often. And more than half of them will commute to work less.
Our survey revealed further lifestyle shifts, with respondents seizing the opportunity to spend more time at home and outdoors.
Tom Parker, consumer spokesperson at Zoopla, explained: “After an extensive lockdown, Brits have become accustomed to spending more time at home, as well as making the most of the outdoor space on their doorstep, which has seen many reassess their home hunting priorities.
“Many of us are now looking at going into the office less often, and socialising more with friends and family at home, instead of heading to pubs and restaurants.
“Meanwhile, spending time in the garden at the weekend looks like the more appealing option for those keen to avoid public spaces like shopping centres and cinemas. This should lead to a positive resetting of the work-life balance of many and, from a buyer perspective, place a new focus on finding a home to accommodate these lifestyle changes.”