What homebuyers want now
Since the housing market has started to bounce back, estate agents have seen a noticeable change in what buyers are asking for.
Whereas once the front of the house, or ‘kerb appeal’ was all-important factor people are now more concerned about what is behind the property. Yes, you guessed it, homeowners are now asking for properties with larger gardens.
That may not seem that surprising, after all, who wouldn’t want a larger garden? Between 1982 and 2013, the average British garden shrunk from 168 m2 to 163.2 m2. It’s been estimated that two million of our homes don't have a garden at all.
One of the reasons experts gave for the shrinking British garden was lack of gardening experience; it is hard to fit learning about gardening around a busy modern lifestyle. However, one of the things the lockdown gave us was the opportunity to try gardening and it turned out that many of us liked it. When the lockdown began, garden centres were inundated with orders for fruit and vegetable plants and seeds, and Garden Centres were one of the first businesses allowed to reopen to the public.
But it’s not all about green fingers; estate agents are reporting that homebuyers want larger rooms, so they have space for a home office. For those of us that have been working at the kitchen table for several months, the appeal is clear, even more so when you consider the debate about when, if ever, office workers will return full time.
The Office for National Statistics released figures that revealed how, even since the lockdown restrictions have eased, employers have proved unwilling to open their workplaces and have preferred to keep staff at home. There is also increasing demand for remote working from the workers themselves: recent findings from Dynata survey show that 74% of British people want to work from home at least some of the time after the lockdown, and 15% would like to work from home permanently.
Working from home may be driving another post-lockdown trend: a desire to move out of towns and cities. Where people previously looked for a convenient commute (consider the amount of For Sale adverts you’ve seen that prominently display the time it takes to get to the nearest major road or motorway) now the commute has been reduced or removed, homeowners are increasingly looking for a more rural setting. Homeworking is also leading to increased demands for high speed internet connectivity and mobile phone coverage.
For homebuyers, especially first-time buyers, the option to move away from the UK’s more expensive locations can only be good news. Analysis from the London School of Economics suggests that whilst house prices may fall because of COVID-19, homes will remain unaffordable for many young people and those on lower incomes in London and the South East.
Prior to lockdown, it seemed that many of the features that sold a house quickly were external facing and based on supporting our busy, modern lifestyle. For example, a short commute, close proximity to local shops and amenities, public transport and parking. Now it seems that, having been confined for long periods of time, we are looking for a new lifestyle that is predominately based around the home, with a larger garden, more space and improved connectivity to support working from home.
Whatever house you’re looking to buy, we’re here if you‘d like to find out more information about Sharia-compliant home finance.