Revealed: how lockdown is different house buyers’ property priorities

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Prospective home buyers will probably get where they left off when the coronavirus lockdown eases, but many will look outside cities in search of homes with more back yard.

New surveys from Rightmove and Savills show how buyer priorities have changed throughout the lockdown.

Here, we explain the important thing features house hunters will search for, and provide advice on house prices, mortgages and when you’ll have the ability to move home again.

Are people trying to find homes?

The property marketplace is well and truly on hold, but there are signs consumers are searching ahead to the end of the lockdown.

Rightmove says visits increased by 20% a week ago when compared to first week of lockdown, and the rise is set to continue when the government’s stay-at-home measures are eased.

The portal’s survey of 784 home movers found that 94% intend to press ahead with their plans following the lockdown, while just 6% will take their explore hold.

Buyers looking to move out of the city

With the lockdown having forced individuals to spend a great deal of amount of time in their houses, house hunters happen to be thinking carefully about what they’re really searching for in a new property.

For many city dwellers, which means looking further afield for a higher quality of life.

Rightmove’s data shows a substantial year-on-year increase in the percentage of searchers taking a look at homes outside their town of residence.

London has seen the biggest increase, with 52% of property hunters looking away from capital in contrast to 42% this time this past year. But overall, Edinburgh presently has the greatest proportion of residents – 60% – looking to move elsewhere.

Rightmove states that while it’s not unusual for buyers to shop around for additional affordable homes outside their city, there’s been a ‘notable shift’ in consumer behaviour throughout the lockdown.

Miles Shipside of Rightmove says: ‘Some people may already be thinking of moving further out from their workplace whether they can work at home a couple of days a week, which opens up numerous new areas they'd never considered before.’

House hunters look for bigger homes

A new survey by the estate agency Savills asked prospective buyers if their priorities have changed since before the lockdown, and its findings echoed those of Rightmove.

Unsurprisingly, 39% of under-50s said they’ll certainly be very likely to consider a bigger home, while 17% of respondents said they'd widened their property search area.

Most notably, 71% of under-40s said gardens and back yard had become more important. The other big priorities for a lot of were wi-fi (48%) along with a separate space for you to use home (44%).

At another end of the property ladder, 20% of homeowners aged over 50 said these were now very likely to downsize to some smaller property compared to what they were before the lockdown.

When will I be allowed to move home?

The government’s current guidance states people should take their progresses hold, but auctions are petitioning to be one of the primary retailers to spread out their doors following the lockdown.

Earlier this week, the national chain Countrywide wrote towards the housing secretary to make the case for agencies being among the ‘first wave’ of businesses to reopen while operating social distancing measures.

In the meantime, agents are looking to video viewings to keep the market moving, and some have reported successes with ‘live’ video tours where buyers can inquire concerning the property because they would in a normal viewing.

The Property Ombudsman has advised that prospective buyers should only agree deals susceptible to an in-person viewing after the lockdown ends.

Has the value of my house fallen?

There are lots of headlines around about possible house price drops due to the coronavirus outbreak, however in truth it is too soon to tell what the impact is going to be on values.

The Land Registry’s house price index operates having a two-month delay, meaning we won’t be aware of full impact from the lockdown for a while yet – and low transaction numbers in the short term could bring volatile results.

If you’re seeking to sell, you are able to try taking some solace in the fact the property market is very robust, and even though some auctions have predicted prices falling, forecasts have generally been of single-digit drops rather than a crash.

Will I be able to get a mortgage?

If you’re assessing your mortgage options, there’s great news and bad news.

First, the good. Last month, we reported the number of mortgage deals had fallen by nearly 50% consider then, the number of available deals has risen from 2,750 to three,082.

Many of the greatest rates are still around, and banks have started offering ‘desktop’ mortgage valuations.

On the downside, you may struggle to obtain the best mortgage deal if you’ve been furloughed. This is because many lenders is only going to go ahead and take furloughed income into consideration, rather than your usual salary, and others won’t accept this income whatsoever.

If this applies for you, you may be better waiting until you’re back at the office before you apply, or taking advice on your options from a mortgage broker.

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