Sales demand bounced back as soon as the market reopened however the make-up of that demand has changed. First time buyers were the largest buying group this time last year however post lockdown, it is home owners moving back to the fore.
With two months confined to our homes, we were faced with a daily reminder of what we did, but more importantly, did NOT like about where we were living. And, for many of us needing to convert our space into a workplace – with a view to this being a permanent change, our home’s suitability has been put to the test. As such, we are seeing a once in a lifetime shift where people have reassessed how and where they want to live and have now entered the market with a vigour unlike anything we have seen before.
So, what is it buyers are looking for?
Different working patterns and the commute being less of a priority has certainly impacted on where our buyers are looking. Demand in London is lagging behind the rest of the country whilst parts of Surrey are enjoying an increase of up to 64% on last year, according to a report by Zoopla (Sept 2020).
Within the Seymours branch network, locations such as Guildford, Godalming and Woking, which are well served by transport and other amenities such as broadband, are proving hugely popular. However, we are also seeing an extension of this commuter zone to include towns and villages further afield such as Dorking, Camberley and Haslemere. The appeal of these areas is not purely down to location, key drivers are also the offer of potentially different style of life, excellent schools, lower crime rates and, of course, value for money compared to more urban London locations.
We know where they are buying, so what is top of the list of requirements?
With working from home seeing an 86% increase on pre-lockdown figures, properties with outbuildings, offices and spare bedrooms are more appealing according to our branches. Reviewing price changes for different property types confirm this as we are achieving higher prices for three-, four- and five-bedroom houses in all of our areas as buyers look for additional space to convert their new home into exactly what they need.
The claustrophobic nature of lockdown has also led to buyers seeking out homes with gardens and outdoor space, making these one of the non-negotiables for buyers looking for their next home.
As for the remainder of 2020, the outlook remains fairly stable.
Houses prices are expected to remain robust as demand continues at a similar rate. The stamp duty holiday adds an incentive and a sense of urgency which will continue for the remainder of the year as those who feel financially secure and have sufficient equity in their home are determined it make that move. However, fast approaching is the end of furlough and mortgage holidays, and we are still awaiting further news on Brexit. This could put negative pressure on pricing and is creating hesitation in some would-be movers however this is likely to become more apparent next year.
If you are considering selling or letting a property, Seymours would be only too happy to help, simply request a virtual or instant valuation above and our expert team will be in touch to arrange.