The External Statistics
In April 2020, statistics from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that nearly 86% of people were working from home due to the coronavirus. The same study shows that residents of London were more likely to do work from home than other regions of the UK.
A recent feature from Zoopla states that some 34% of buyers and renters anticipate working from home more often in the future. The same article points out that demand for rural properties rose by 80%.
To support the stats from Zoopla, research by Barclays Mortgages shows that almost a third of people in Birmingham and London strongly wish to leave and move to greener areas.
The Facts from the Data
On average, people only move home every 19 years. So, if we do find evidence that people who are looking to move this year compared to last has changed as a result of Covid-19, this would suggest that the change in consumer behaviour is more permanent rather than temporary.
So, what does our data show?
Well if we look at the volume of Sales Agreed in July and August 2020 first of all and compare this with the same time period in 2019, we note that 2020 is running at nearly 150% of 2019.
This tells us that sales agreed are up and it does not tell us yet that these sales agreed are different in make-up from 2019. In order for us to look at this, we have to look deeper at the kind of sales that are being agreed in 2020 versus 2019.
In terms of gardens first of all, we found that the volume of sales agreed in summer 2020 had risen 55% for houses with gardens when compared with 31% for houses without gardens. So, people are more likely to buy a house with a garden.
The following chart looks at the percentage increase in the volume of sales agreed in summer 2020 when compared with summer 2019 broken down by the number of bedrooms in the property.
Note that people are now more likely to buy larger properties, with volumes of 4-bedroom properties being sold increasing by 72% and 5+ bedroom properties being sold increasing by 79%.
Turning our attention to urbanity, we found that the volume of sales agreed in summer 2020 had risen 62% for property in rural areas when compared with 45% for property in urban areas.
Finally, a look at property type in the following chart shows the percentage increase in the volume of sales agreed in summer 2020 when compared with summer 2019.
We see that people are now more likely to buy detached properties.
Covid-19 Has Changed Property Purchase Behaviour
We believe that the Covid-19 pandemic and in particular the impact of lock down has caused UK consumers to re-evaluate what matters to them. Our view is that these are likely to be permanent lifestyle changes as the average homeowner purchases a home infrequently.
As a result of the findings from this client briefing and the “noise” surrounding the move to greener and larger spaces, we have created two Migration Audiences. These enable our clients to talk to people moving out of London or Regionally moving into greener or more rural spaces.