Sentiment is polarised among potential buyers and sellers in the UK property market, highlighting an opportunity for agents to bridge this gap, Zoopla’s ‘State of the Property Nation’ survey has revealed.
Now in its fourth year, the report surveyed over 650 estate and letting agents, and around 6,000 property owners and renters across Britain to uncover what’s on the minds of those in the property market.
We reveal the findings below…
Buyers growing in confidence while sellers still have the jitters
The supply of properties within budget and in the right locations continue to pose challenges for buyers. Despite this, across the UK, there has been a 5% fall in the number of house hunters whose search was limited by these factors over the past 12 months.
Finding a dream location is less of a worry for first-time buyers, who are instead challenged by affordability, with saving for a deposit (50%) and securing a mortgage (43%) ranking as the main obstacles to homeownership.
However, first-time buyers are still the largest buyer demographic active in today’s market.
While buyers are feeling less restricted in their property searches, homeowners and investors are still wary of the ongoing economic uncertainty, with 36% citing this as a concern, along with a fear of not achieving their asking price (31%).
Upsizing a key motivation for moving home
Moving to a bigger home was the most referenced reason for purchasing a new property this year, with 28% of respondents citing this as their key driver for house hunting. This was particularly prevalent among younger families (39%).
Empty-nesters, however, show greater flexibility over location – often with the intention of moving closer to family – with over a third (36%) citing ‘moving to a new location’ as their overarching motivator when searching for their new home.
Rise in people active in the property market
Zoopla has found a modest increase in the number of people actively looking to buy, sell or rent a property. In a boost for agents, these property seekers (32%) are more serious about moving than ever before with nearly a third (31%) stating they are likely to act on this in the next year.
Home-hunters are also more determined, with 40% confidently stating they know exactly which house or street they want to live on.
“Confidence is slowly returning to the market”
Commenting on the findings, Andy Marshall, chief commercial officer at Zoopla, says: “It’s easy to focus on the hard data like the number of sales, but it’s also important to scratch under the surface to understand what is motivating people to make a move.”
“We are seeing a polarisation of the market. Confidence is slowly returning among buyers, but this is moderated by a feeling of caution among sellers, with ongoing economic uncertainty causing them to doubt whether they will achieve the asking price they believe their property is worth.”
Marshall says this sentiment offers a great opportunity for agents to ‘realign sellers’ expectations while also educating them on the resurgence the market has seen in the first month of the year’.
“What’s more, there are increasing numbers of people who are active in the property market and those seeking a new property are serious about making a move,” he adds. “This again provides fantastic opportunities to agents to highlight their local knowledge and expertise, bringing together buyers and sellers and helping both to reach their property goals.”
To receive chapters of Zoopla’s 2020 State of the Property Nation survey as they are released, click here.