How has the pandemic changed property searches?
As lockdown measures are eased, homebuyers are reflecting on the new normal when it comes to property search priorities.
While Londoners may have begun drifting back to the office, it’s likely that home working will be a feature for many of us in the future. Consequently, those looking to move are asking whether a prospective property is suitable for extended periods spent at home.
At the start of the pandemic people acted quickly to adapt their properties into makeshift offices – and schools, with studies created in attics, alcoves, even gardens. Whether Covid-19 could spell the end of open-plan living is difficult to call. However, people will be looking for flexible spaces, which can accommodate different family members, working together in harmony, should lockdown resume in the future.
According to Professor Yolande Barnes of University College London: “Homeowners are reassessing their space for what lies ahead. I do not think this is going to be a one-time crisis or a one-off lockdown.
“Buyers and tenants will be more discerning and from now on, every time they view a new property they will be thinking, Can I live in these four walls in a lockdown?”
Other effects of the pandemic include a possible boom in property transactions, as people begin acting on the life-changing decisions they made during lockdown.
Property portals have already seen a surge in searches for homes with gardens. According to Rightmove, the number of Londoners looking for rental homes with gardens jumped by more than 100% in a week, once the market opened after lockdown. People are prioritising outside space, with families looking for places to play above aesthetics.
Green transport may also be on buyer’s agendas. Good walking and cycling routes could figure, as people look for a greener commute that avoids the need for public transport. Electric car charging points may grow in demand too.
London builders have reported an increase in enquiries about outbuilding and basement conversions. Homes with room to grow are likely to be sought after as people seek the potential to create lockdown spaces, such as games rooms, yoga studios and, of course, offices.
Read more about this story in the Evening Standard Homes & Property.