What Are Homebuyers Looking For In 2022?
You might think that what homebuyers look for in a property stays fairly consistent, but in reality things change. Perhaps this is not unexpected, given the factor of the Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, it is clear that some things have certainly been altered by these unprecedented times.
This is illustrated in a recent report that found a change to the top factor that homebuyers in the UK are looking for. The Homebuyer Wishlist 2021 revealed that 92% of buyers in the UK considered a garden or outdoor space as either ‘important’ or ‘very important’. The same report two years earlier found that square footage was the most important factor.
The pandemic has had a strange effect on the property market. Sales have been soaring, with many estate agents struggling to keep up with demand. There have also been changes in the kind of things potential buyers consider important.
A move to the sea
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many workers had to work from home out of necessity. The reality was that many found that they actually enjoyed this way of working, and have transitioned to either full-time remote working or at least part time. This has created an opportunity for workers to live wherever they want, while keeping their job in a city.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has led to a huge demand for coastal properties. Enquiries for homes in coastal locations rose by 115% over the course of 2021. And the time it takes for properties by the sea to sell dropped, from an average of 71 days to just 51 days. Areas in Devon, Sussex and Hampshire have been especially popular.
A country escape
Along the same lines – many homebuyers are looking for locations that offer freedom and space, having been locked into city living for a number of years. There has been strong demand for countryside and rural properties in 2021, with prime regional prices up 6.7% and now at their highest level since the global financial crisis.
This only looks set to continue in 2022, as more people find that they can do their job from a more picturesque and relaxed locale.
The opportunity for a digital nomad lifestyle
There can be no doubt that the pandemic has changed working habits for many people. As mentioned above, remote working has become a very normal and common accepted practice. Another lifestyle growing in popularity has been the concept of the digital nomad; location-independent workers who use technology to do their job from anywhere in the world.
For some homebuyers this has meant selling up and embracing the nomadic lifestyle. For others, it has seen them invest in property abroad. Indeed, there is evidence that in spite of changed rules around working in Europe, many Brits are still buying property there with the intention of working. In Malaga province in Spain, British people made up 19% of foreign buyers, the largest country overall, despite Brexit.
Recent predictions have suggested that 40% of all employees will work from home by 2025. We can once again look at the pandemic as a big factor in this rise. That is why it is likely that in 2022, more homebuyers than ever will be looking for home office space.
However, it is still the case that a bedroom is more valuable to a property than an office, so those selling their property based on three bedrooms shouldn’t be tempted to call it a two bedroom property with office space. Additional space, such as an office in an outbuilding, can however be very appealing.
There has undoubtedly been a rise in the popularity of more flexible living spaces. It could be argued that this has been driven by the fact that more people are spending more of their time at home.
Some are still interested in open plan living, while others consider that style is no longer practical, especially with more people at home more of the time.
Given this split in opinion, the most sought-after properties should be flexible enough to afford opportunities for both.
A great garden
We mentioned earlier that a garden or outdoor space has become the most sought after feature of a property this year. However, by implication, we can infer that it is important for homebuyers to get a home with a high quality garden – a space outdoors where they can spend their time.
This may well be a backlash against all the time spent indoors during lockdown. Those with gardens valued their time outside, while those without were limited in their ability to go outdoors.
Internet speed has been an issue forefront in the mind of homebuyers – and this is another trend that is unlikely to reduce in 2022. It’s not just remote working that requires fast internet speeds – indeed, good quality broadband is increasingly a feature in our private lives. With streaming services, gaming devices and other technology requiring a strong broadband connection to function most effectively.
In fact, more people consider fast broadband a priority over whether they are close to a school or being near high-quality restaurants.
Issues such as lockdown and the move towards remote working has had a huge impact on what people look for in a property. It is important for those in real estate to understand these changes and alter their marketing and sales plans accordingly.