The property market was reopened last month as lockdown measures in the UK were eased, but the industry is seeing sharp changes in what Britons are looking for. RightMove has revealed its latest data shows a surge in demand for certain types of properties now that they can get moving again. It seems the need for outside space is dramatically changing which homes are most appealing to both buyers and renters.
RightMove’s data analysts have found that the most sought-after property types are now exclusively houses and bungalows.
This is a huge change compared to the same time last year and even to January 2020, as the company compared demand for different properties.
While in May 2019 houses and flats topped the lists for both renters and buyers, new movers are hoping to find more space.
The latest data revealed that three bed houses were the most in demand for those looking to buy, while renters were seeking two bed houses or bungalows in their search.
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Property expert Miles Shipside said: “The housing market has been open in England for a few weeks now and as always the picture is very different depending on the local area, with some agents rushed off their feet with offers going over the asking price and others at a slower pace.
“Traffic on Rightmove has hit its highest ever level with many starting out on a new journey towards their next home, and a change in lifestyle which could come with a very different wish-list to the one they had a few months ago.
“During lockdown people have been re-evaluating what their must-haves are, and both buyers and renters are craving a home with its own outside space rather than a flat.
“It will be fascinating to see how the trends unfold over the course of the rest of the year.”
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Even four-bed and six-bed properties have climbed the ranks to join the top five most sought-after properties, as locked-down buyers prioritise upsizing to a bigger space.
While studio flats were previously the top of the search for renters earlier this year, the cramped option is no longer in the top five as outdoor space and separate bedrooms become a priority.
The new trend could also be a result of more Britons working from home, as they look for places with a separate room or area to set up as their desk space.
It’s bad news for flat owners who are looking to sell, as demand for smaller homes has dramatically decreased in the UK.
Regulated property buyer GoodMove has also spotted the change, noting that Google searches for “house with garden” were up 260 percent year on year in April as movers browsed their options.
But the company offered advice to those who were looking to sell in the coming months.
Nima Ghasri, Director at Good Move, said: “It’s no secret that flats can’t offer the inside and outdoor space most houses can.
“However, although consumer demand for flats across the UK is decreasing, there are still many ways sellers can make their apartment look more appealing to potential buyers as we have outlined.
“The process you take to sell your flat can also help speed up timings,” Nima continued.
“ For example, if you opt to go with an estate agent, this can take between three to six months. An auction can take between six to ten weeks, and cash house buyers can sell your flat in as little as seven days.
“So, it’s definitely worth weighing up your selling options in the first instance.”
Despite the decline in those seeking flats, RightMove also reported that the market had made an impressive recovery following the reopening last month, with 40,000 property sales already agreed in a matter of weeks.