According to new research by Zoopla, more than half of house movers in the UK have changed their priorities since the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown in March.

The survey of more than 2,000 tenants and prospective home owners revealed that most movers were still intending to move – with 86% who were planning on moving before the crisis, reporting that they still expect to do so. First time buyers are also keen to go through with their plans too – with some 94% of first-time buyers across the UK stating that they are still set on moving house within the next 12 months. And whilst many movers have been put off moving because of changes in their circumstances or the logistical difficulties arising through attempting to move during lockdown – 13% of first-time buyers remain optimistic and said that the situation with coronavirus had actually accelerated their plans to move.

Not all respondents were concerned about the impact coronavirus would have on the property market and only 31% of those surveyed were aware that house prices may fall. In terms of age group, the study found that renters and younger buyers expected to feel the most impact from the economic uncertainty arising from the pandemic.

Changing priorities

The situation has also seen a shift in priorities for buyers and renters. 22% said that the idea of having a home office or a place in the home where they can work from has become more important and 34% said that they expect that they will be working from home more often in the future. 85% of respondents said that they expect to spend the same amount – or fewer hours working.

Speaking to Property Wire, Zoopla’s Consumer Spokesperson, Tom Parker, said:

 “After an extensive lockdown, Brits have become accustomed to spending more time at home, as well as making the most of the outdoor space on their doorstep, which has seen many reassess their home hunting priorities.

“Many of us are now looking at going into the office less often, and socialising more with friends and family at home, instead of heading to pubs and restaurants.

“Meanwhile, spending time in the garden at the weekend looks like the more appealing option for those keen to avoid public spaces like shopping centres and cinemas. This should lead to a positive resetting of the work-life balance of many and, from a buyer perspective, place a new focus on finding a home to accommodate these lifestyle changes.”

Seeking the Seaside

Office space isn’t the only priority that has changed. Last week property listings site Rightmove reported that they have seen an increase in people enquiring about seaside properties – both from second homers and people wishing to move permanently.

Miles Shipside, Director at Rightmove suggests that being in lockdown has given home seekers more time to think about their priorities and where they would really like to live. The change has also highlighted the fact that many of us don’t need to be on site to work – and can work just as efficiently from home – meaning we can work from any location too.

Speaking about the change in priorities, Shipside said:

 “Having the chance to look out your window to a sea view is something many home hunters tell us is a dream of theirs. This means that the properties that do offer this are able to charge a premium compared to those in-land.

“Lockdown has changed what a number of home-hunters are now looking for from their next home, and while some are looking for more space or a bigger garden, others are now contemplating a move to the seaside.”

One area proving popular with house hunters – possibly due to its close proximity to London – is Brighton and Hove. Speaking to Property Wire, James Epps, Director at Oakley Property in Brighton described the significant interest in properties in the area:

“Since the government announced that estate agencies were allowed to return to work, we have seen a significant increase in enquiries week on week, particularly from people in London and surrounding counties looking to move out from the city for a better quality of life.

“Many people now realise that they can work effectively from home which is encouraging them to live outside of the capital. If the stamp duty holiday is introduced, I can only see demand for property in Brighton & Hove increasing as people considering buying will want to take advantage of the time limited tax saving!”

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