Flats drop out of most sought after property types as home-hunters seek more space

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  • The most sought after property types being enquired about on Rightmove are now all houses and bungalows, with all types of flat dropping out of the top five:
    • Renters looking for a garden has led to studio flats being replaced with two bed houses as the most sought after property type
    • Buyers on the hunt for more space means two and three bed flats are out and four bed and six bed houses are in

 

  • Half of renters (49%) and more than one third of buyers (39%) currently in market say lockdown has impacted what they’re looking for in their next home:
    • Biggest change for both groups is wanting a bigger garden or access to a garden
    • Searches for homes with gardens on Rightmove is up 84% for renters and 42% for buyers in May compared to the same month last year
    • Over a third of buyers (36%) and a quarter of renters (26%) want a better home workspace, and almost a third of buyers (30%) say they want to live in a rural area
    • Good internet and a spare room are now higher up on wish-lists, commuting times and transport links are less important

 

A new study out today from the UK’s biggest property website Rightmove reveals what buyers and renters are now looking for in their next home, using both site data and a new survey of over 4,000 home-movers.

 

Since the market reopened activity has been surging, with both visits and time spent on Rightmove both hitting a new record on Wednesday 3rd June, with over seven million visits.

 

Bigger houses are on the up

 

The desire for more space, a bigger garden and maybe even a spare room for a home office has led to flats falling out of fashion with both buyers and renters in the current market. The findings are worked out by taking the number of people enquiring about each property type on Rightmove and dividing by the total number of available properties of each type to gauge how much competition there is for each type.

 

Comparing the start of the year with May and also with the same month last year, all types of flat are now gone from the top five.

 

Most sought after property type

May 2019

Most sought after property type

January 2020

Most sought after property type

May 2020

BUYERS
One bed house Three bed house Three bed house
Two bed house Two bed house Two bed house
Three bed house Three bed flat One bed house
Three bed flat One bed house Four bed house
One bed flat Two bed flat Six bed house
RENTERS
Two bed house Studio flat Two bed house
Studio flat Two bed house Two bed bungalow
One bed house One bed house Three bed house
Three bed house Three bed house One bed house
Two bed bungalow One bed flat Three bed bungalow

Rightmove Housing Market Analyst Miles Shipside observes: “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 moving 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.”

 

Shifting priorities

 

Half of renters (49%) currently in market surveyed by Rightmove say that lockdown has had an impact on what they’re looking for. The five things it has impacted most are wanting a bigger garden or at least access to one, wanting to live in a bigger home, wanting to live in a pet-friendly home, wanting to live closer to parks and green spaces and wanting access to a parking space or a garage.

More than one third of buyers (39%) in market are also changing what they’re looking for. The top five things most impacted are similar to renters, with the exception of wanting a better home workspace taking the fourth spot.

 

Searches by buyers for homes with gardens on Rightmove are up 42% in May compared to May 2019 and for renters they’re up 84%.

Shipside says: “Usually home-movers tell us the kitchen photographs are the most important when they’re looking at a property advert, but now agents should consider giving greater prominence to pictures of gardens and outdoor spaces to attract the attention of prospective renters and buyers. To add to the photogenic garden appeal, a quick lick of paint on a fence, or a clear out of a shed to show how it could be a lovely summer house, can make all the difference when selling a lifestyle to a would-be buyer or tenant. Communal gardens sometimes get left out of rental listings but they should definitely be including them now too.”

 

 

Buyers

 

 

Renters

Change to what they now want in their

next home

 

Change to what they want now in their next home  

%

Bigger garden or access to one 63% Bigger garden or access to one 59%
A bigger home 43% A bigger home 41%
Access to a parking space or garage 36% Live in a pet-friendly home 29%
A better home workspace 36% Live closer to parks & green spaces 27%
Live closer to parks & green spaces 31% Access to a parking space or garage 27%
Want to live in a rural area 30% A better home workspace 26%
Live closer to friends & family 24% Live closer to friends & family 19%
Live in a pet-friendly home 22% Live closer to essential local services 16%
Live closer to non-essential amenities 15% Live closer to non-essential amenities 15%
Live closer to essential local services 13% Live closer to work 13%
Live closer to work 8% Want to live in a rural area 13%

 

Home-working

 

Half of the people surveyed (49%) said they are currently working from home. Of those, one in five (21%) said they would like to work from home permanently, and 55% said they would like to work from home more but still occasionally go in to work.

 

The study indicates an interest in a transition towards more frequent home working, which could lead to a shift in what people prioritise in their search for a home. Good internet and a spare room are now becoming more important and transport links less important.

 

 

Attributes now more important

 

 

Attributes now less important

Good internet at home Commuting time from the workplace
A spare room Transport links nearby
The size of the home Non-essential amenities available nearby

 

Shipside comments: “Usually sellers living near a train station or a tube station use this as a selling point and can command a premium price for their home, but that isn’t going to be such an important selling point for those buyers now expecting to work from home more. It’s now all about showcasing a spare room in the best way. If there is a room currently set up as a small bedroom, sellers would do well to acquire some cheap office furniture, so they can show people how their home office could look. Fast internet has always been important but now it will be a must.”

 

Escape to the country

 

The desire to live somewhere quieter and with access to green spaces is something Rightmove has already started to see coming through in changes in buyer activity, with a shift in more people living in cities looking to move out. The study shows that buyers are more likely than renters to make the move to the countryside, with almost one third of buyers (30%) saying the lockdown has now made them want to live in a rural area, versus 13% of renters. One in five first-time buyers (19%) say they now want to live in a rural area.

 

Community and life interests

 

Over half of people surveyed (57%) said they feel there is now a stronger sense of community in their local area than before lockdown, something that we know from previous reports affects how happy people are living in an area.

 

The new life interests that people say they plan to continue doing after lockdown could also affect what they look for and which location they choose for their next home. The three activities that people are most likely to continue doing in the future are exercising outdoors, reading and gardening.

 

Activities that have seen the greatest increase in uptake since lockdown have been exercising at home, arts & crafts and DIY.

 

 

Growth in activity since lockdown

 

 

Plan to continue doing in the future

Exercising at home 36% Exercising outdoors 89%
Arts and crafts 21% Reading 82%
DIY 17% Gardening outdoors 82%
Gardening indoors 19% Cooking / baking 78%
Gardening outdoors 15% Watching movies and TV shows 74%
Cooking / baking 12% Arts and crafts 71%

Rightmove

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