On a recent survey by Zoopla where they spoke to more than 2,600 buyers to find out what their property buying preferences were. This uncovered 7 key trends.
All buyer groups were broadly aligned in terms of preferred property type: the bigger, the better (cost-permitting).
Semi-detached and detached houses were the most sought-after homes, with more than half of respondents saying they had moved – or would be moving – to this type of property.
Post-pandemic demand for extra space generally is still high, with 70% of respondents wanting at least 3 bedrooms. And 80% said they were looking for a home that they could grow into, or that would provide the space for a home office or leisure facilities.
To achieve this, many buyers are taking advantage of the equity they built up during months of lockdowns. Our data also shows that 14% of buyers and intenders in the resale market are buying without a mortgage.
Increasing energy costs are driving buyers to look harder at the savings they could make on more energy-efficient homes. For 70% of those surveyed, the EPC rating was a consideration when buying their next home.
Data shows that just 37% of resale homes are rated ‘C’ or higher. While this currently has limited impact on the price or speed of sale, it may start to influence buyer decisions as government policy is introduced.
Despite a shift towards properties with greener credentials, the car is still king for today’s buyers. In fact, it was the thing survey respondents were most aligned on.
A massive 94% said they wanted some form of parking at their new home, with off-road parking – either a garage or a driveway – a preference for the majority.
Immediately following the pandemic, outdoor space was often flagged as an important feature for those wanting to move. It was still a key consideration for the buyers, with 84% saying they wanted a garden. Of this group, 45% said they would specifically like a large garden.
But this is nothing new. Outdoor space has been a long-term requirement since well before the pandemic. In fact, ‘gardens’ and ‘garages’ have stood firmly in the top 2 keyword searches on Zoopla among buyers for the last 3 years.
Our survey shows a clear trend for buyers moving from cities to more affordable suburbs and smaller neighbouring towns. It’s particularly important for pre-family households, who told us they look for more affordable properties on the outskirts of town – typically a 2 or 3 bed semi-detached house.
The data also highlights specific demand for homes in more rural locations in the South East, the South West and Scotland. It’s likely the increased opportunity to work remotely during the pandemic prompted buyers to address their work/life balance and move to these sorts of quieter locations.
Form those who had bought a home in the last 18 months to estimate the time it took from search to exchange in days. The average was 223 days in total.
The purchase process varies by buyer group, with older households – who are perhaps more selective with their requirements – taking some 240 days from initial search to exchange.
In contrast, families take just 160 days. For the pre-family audience, where affordability is a more significant concern, buyers typically take 203 days from search to exchange.
There is a clear correlation between buyers’ overall satisfaction with the purchase process and the speed of the transaction once an offer has been accepted.
Buyers who had a ‘very good’ or ‘good’ experience typically saw the process between offer accepted and exchange take less than half the time compared to those who had a ‘poor’ experience (65 versus 138 days).
The importance of communication throughout the buying process cannot be underestimated. 30% of buyers rated their experience ‘just ok’ or ‘poor’.
Over 85% of buyers were receptive to streamlining this process by using technology – such as an online portal that tracked and monitored the progress of their purchase end-to-end.
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