As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, here at Carter Jonas we have seen three key property trends emerge.
The first is an increase in enquiries from people wanting additional rooms or dedicated areas that can work as a permanent home office space.
The second is prioritising outdoor space, with more people adding outdoor space to their dealbreaker list. In London, we have seen a 150% increase in the number of people searching for properties with outdoor space, compared to the same time last year.
The third trend revolves around cutting out commuting and lifestyle changes. It’s clear that shifts in working patterns and structures are convincing people to move further away from commuter hotspots in search of better value for money.
The volume of residents moving out of cities is evident, with Carter Jonas registering twice the number of buyers looking to move out of London, compared with the same time in 2019.
Now let’s look at these trends in a little more detail...
Homeowners set up long term home offices
With so many of us working from home over the last two months, many have realised the value of a home office for making remote working much easier. We have seen an increase of enquiries from people looking for extra space generally, but more and more people are specifically on the hunt for properties with an additional room that will work as an office, or dedicated home office areas.
Those in this group might also consider moving to a house with an outbuilding or a garage that can be converted.
Staying home for 10 weeks means that many households have had the time to reflect on how they can increase the space in which they live. To this end, we expect to see an increase in planning permissions for extensions, loft conversions or basement digs as households look to maximise square footage without necessitating the need for a move.
Some households, of course, will have just been stretched to their space limits. If their properties cannot, for whatever reason, be extended, they may consider the only practical option is to move to a larger property. We suspect this will lead to an initial boost in people looking to move once lockdown measures are eased to an even greater capacity.
Outdoor space is a priority
The stay home order has put into sharp focus the value of personal outdoor space.
Some, who previously did not consider a garden or balcony an essential, now desire it and appreciate the merits and its positive impact on health and wellbeing.
Commuting changes prompt lifestyle changes
In some cases, the ease of working from home, and that it is becoming an accepted norm, means that now, many potential buyers will not necessarily need to travel into the office five days a week.
Households may move further afield in the search of more space and lower density – a potential increase in commuting times when they do go into the office is suddenly less of a deterrent - the trade-off being a less frequent but longer commute.
For those living in more densely packed, urban locations, the need for a car may have come into question during the lockdown. This, as well as increasing awareness around environmental issues, could lead to some choosing to go ‘carless’.
At the very least we will likely see an increase in the car-share economy, which has already taken off over the last few years. This could lead to fewer households looking for off-street parking or ‘better’ parking options, something that can restrict people's home searches and limit the number of properties available to them.
When registering the amount of potential buyers requesting off-street parking is four times lower than this time last year.
*David Ruddock is Head of Residential Sales Operations at Carter Jonas