As the market adjusts to life after lockdown, Zoopla reveals that over half of home movers have reordered their priorities
6th July 2020
86% of home buyers who were hoping to move pre-COVID intend to go ahead with their plans in the next twelve months
Over a third (35%) of under 35s have had their home move delayed, driven in part by the withdrawal of +85% loan-to-value mortgages by some lenders
Coronavirus impact has also adjusted property search criteria, with 42% of movers expecting to work from home more often, and 22% listing a home office as a priority
As the property market establishes a ‘new normal’, a survey of over 2,000 home movers by Zoopla, the UK’s most comprehensive property destination, reveals that 54% of home movers have reordered their priorities in response to the coronavirus lockdown.
Home hunters are still on the move, although economic uncertainty is a concern
In promising news for the market, 86% of those planning to move prior to the coronavirus crisis intend to proceed with their plans, with 40% of buyers in London and the South East saying their intention to move over the next twelve months has not changed. Meanwhile, a third of buyers from across the country admit that while their plans have been delayed, they still intend to move in the next year.
Of those who have delayed their search, 31% cited concerns around a downturn in house prices as a result of the impact of coronavirus, followed by the impact of coronavirus on the UK economy (30%), and its impact on their employment and household income (22%), as their greatest worry.
By contrast, Zoopla recently forecast that house price growth will hold at +2% over the next three months, sustained by demand for housing.
Meanwhile, younger people have been impacted the most, with 35% saying their plans to move have been delayed. Delving deeper, 30% of respondents under the age of 35 cite access to a mortgage or difficulties saving for a deposit as their reason for delaying their move. This tallies with recent announcements around the availability of high Loan-To-Value (LTV) mortgages, with the availability of +90% LTV mortgages decreasing* from 386 in January to just 14 last week.
Priorities are being reassessed as search criteria changes
The survey has also brought to life a shift in priorities amongst home hunters as a result of the pandemic. 44% of those whose criteria have changed are now looking to move closer to the countryside, parks or the coast.
Under 35s have recorded the biggest change in priorities, with one in five saying they’re more likely to prioritise private outdoor space over an additional bedroom, or expand their location search if it means being able to afford a garden.
A dedicated home office area, being closer to family and friends, and the ability to exercise at home, all ranked highly in the list of priorities of the 2,000 respondents. Proximity to amenities such as pubs and shops have been deprioritised, with just 13% of respondents citing them as a neighbourhood must-have.
Lifestyle changes are having a knock-on effect on property searches
Work-life balance is key for many, with 85% of respondents expecting to work the same hours or less in the coming months. 42% expect to work from home more often, which explains why, when it comes to those under the retirement age, over half of respondents expect to commute less.
Naturally, this shift in lifestyle has had implications for property searches. Just over one in five respondents (22%) say having a home-working area has become more of a priority, which increases to 34% of those in the 35-49 year age bracket. Other shifts in lifestyle include 30% of respondents saying they are doing more DIY, 43% doing more gardening, and 35% planning to take more holidays in the UK. Overall, it looks like Brits are intending to spend a lot more time both outdoors and at home.
Andy Marshall, Chief Commercial Officer at Zoopla, comments: “Given the unprecedented impact of coronavirus, it’s to be expected that home buyers and sellers will have reordered their priorities and what they are looking for from their next home move.
“It’s reassuring to see that 86% of those who had planned to move before lockdown still intend to go ahead with their plans in the near term. Without doubt, lockdown put the functionality of many homes under pressure, and many homeowners have emerged with a revised list of requirements that they’re looking for a new home to fulfil - as well as a need to move, fast.
“With more Brits looking to travel into the office less often, while socialising at home more, expectations of what a home can deliver look likely to be greater than ever. We expect many home movers to reset their work-life balance, with greater emphasis on finding a home that will accommodate these lifestyle changes.
“In addition, whilst always popular, a garden or private outdoor space, as well as proximity to parks, the countryside and coast, have assumed a new level of importance. Inevitably, home movers want to fortify themselves against the impact of any future lockdowns - should they arise.”
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