It is no surprise to learn buyer demand and priorities have changed since the housing market re-opened. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to be felt for some time. For many people, the financial and economic impact of the pandemic will shape their next move in the market. For others, the changes in the way we live our lives, or what we perceive to be important, will influence what buyers are looking for.

There have been a number of changes in what buyers are looking for, but an interesting change is seen in the property types buyers are looking at.

Buyers are not searching for flats in the way they used to

In May 2019, Rightmove data indicated one-bedroom flats and three-bedroom flats were in the top five searched properties on their portal. For May 2020, flats didn’t feature at all in the top five. This is likely an indication that buyers are looking for houses, with more room and garden space than flats.

If this demand is sustained, it will be a fine example of how the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the housing market.

In addition to increased demand for homes with a garden, larger property and homes with an office space, a recent Rightmove study highlighted the following priorities for buyers:

  • Living closer to parks and green spaces, mentioned by 31% of respondents
  • Living in a rural area, opted for by 30% of respondents
  • Living closer to friends and family members, said by 24% of respondents
  • Living closer to non-essential amenities, was cited by 15% of respondents
  • Living closer to essential local services, raised by 13% of respondents

Industry experts believe buyer demand has shifted considerably because of the COVID-19 pandemic

Iain McKenzie is the CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals. His organisation believes buyer behaviour has already shifted in the market because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

McKenzie states; “COVID-19 has prompted many people to re-evaluate their ideal home. Now, more than ever, buyers are looking for homes with easy access to outdoor space, and it is highly likely that we will see the importance of such space increase. Currently, only 66% of flats have access to private outside space, compared to 97% of houses.”

Iain McKenzie continued by saying; “Data reveals that there is already a £2,500 price premium for homes within 100 metres of green space when compared with homes 500 metres away. As the value and demand for homes with access to green space increases, we could see a shift in building design moving forward.”

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