Since the first national lockdown in March 2020, there has been a shift in demand and preferences amongst UK house-hunters for larger properties, bigger gardens, and whether it's by being in closer proximity or online, greater connectivity to family and friends.
A new study by Market Financial Solutions collating data from 1,282 UK homebuyers has revealed the factors that matter most to people when searching for a property, comparing the results to the same survey in 2019.
According to the findings, the garden or outdoor space was cited by 92% of homebuyers as an ‘important’ or ‘very important’ consideration. It replaced a property’s square footage (89%) as the single most important factor when compared with 2019.
Broadband connectivity is now the third most important consideration. In May 2021, 88% said this was a crucial factor, compared with 82% in 2019.
The quality and finish of the interior (85%) was fourth on the list, with proximity to public spaces and parks rising six places to number five – 84% of homebuyers consider this to be important, whereas only 79% said the same two years ago.
Conversely, transport links were only cited as important by 67% of buyers in May 2021 – a 13% fall from 2019. Proximity to the nearest town or city has also declined in importance, with 74% selecting this option compared with 87% previously.
Paresh Raja, CEO of MFS, said: “It is no secret that the pandemic has altered people’s perspective on what they want and need from their homes. Remote working and social distancing mean the majority of Britons now spend much more time in their own homes, while access to outdoor space for both exercise and socialising has become far more important.
“Our new report highlights just how quickly the market has evolved. There are notably different demands among homebuyers, with a property’s garden and broadband connectivity becoming ever-more important factors. Meanwhile, transport links and being near to a town or city has understandably become less crucial for some homebuyers, given people are commuting less and so many hospitality, leisure and retail venues in urban areas have been closed.
“It will be intriguing to monitor these trends if lockdown rules are fully lifted on 21 June. It is likely that the appeal of being near to city centres will return, as will the value of good transport links for work and social purposes. Yet, for now, it is clear that demand has changed, which is leading to fierce competition for properties that tick these all-important boxes.”
For further insight, the full report can be downloaded here.