Since May 13th 2020 the housing market has quickly jumped back onto its feet to reassert itself as an economic driving force to help the UK in its recovery strategy. While lockdown made the process of buying and/or selling a property very difficult there have been some developments in the wake of the pandemic which may shape the market moving forward.
Virtual tech isn’t a new phenomenon to the housing market, however, its purpose became more important when the nation went into lockdown. With high street estate agents closed and contact with people outside of your household forbidden the next best thing in offering house viewings were virtual tours.
As we know a picture is worth a thousand words yet pre-lockdown a property would likely be dismissed if the photos didn’t do it justice. Virtual tours bridged the gap between buyers being unable to view a property in real life and have now made it possible since lockdown has eased, for estate agents to validate if a buyer is interested in a property by offing a virtual tour before they look to make an appointment for a proper viewing.
Many estate agents have now invested in the technology as they believe it is here to stay as it allows customers to work through their initial list of properties they’re interested in without leaving the comfort of their home.
Lockdown allowed us all to sit back and reflect on what’s important to us. For those in cities and particularly housed in apartments that are used to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, when they were forced to ‘slow down,’ it became apparent, for some, that maybe the rat race life wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
Before Boris Johnson’s May 13th speech estate agent Savills reported almost four in 10 people considering a house move were now more inclined to pick a countryside location than they were before Covid-19 struck.
More recently, estate agents have reported house buyers’ sentiment has moved away from city life and more towards urban, rural and green space living. A recent report said prices and rents for London apartments with no outdoor space are taking “COVID cuts” of up to 10 per cent because of fears of a second lockdown. Agents say that tenants and buyers are interested in properties with gardens or, at least, terraces and balconies.
The rise of home office space
Before lockdown, many employers had dismissed the idea of its employees working from home. Yet in the face of a pandemic, the nation pulled together and companies and their staff made it work under difficult circumstances.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the new property ‘must-have’ is an office. More than one in five of those recently surveyed by Zoopla (22%) claimed that having an office area has become more of a priority, with this increasing to 34% among those aged between 35 and 49.
Properties that are located close to friends and family (21%), and that offer the ability to do exercise at home (20%), have become more important for home hunters of all ages too.
Some 34% of buyers and renters anticipate working from home more often, with 85% expecting to spend the same or fewer hours working.
The younger respondents feel the shift more acutely, with 42% of under 65s planning to work from home more often. And more than half of them will commute to work less.
Whatever happens next we hope with how the housing market has adapted it continues to move forward and provide the country with a much needed economic boost.
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