An East Midlands property developer has claimed that homebuyer priorities have evolved in response to the challenges posed by Covid-19.
Nottingham-based Peter James Homes, which has a hard-won reputation for tailoring its homes to the needs of modern-day living, has identified a significant shift in homebuyer requirements – and Simon Gardiner, managing director at the firm, insists that it is already having a direct impact on the nature of new build design.
He said: “In addition to the established core factors that influence the decision-making process like size, price, location and style, homebuyers are increasingly looking for the kind of versatility that enables them to use their homes in a variety of ways.
“In addition to traditional living spaces, they want dedicated places to work, as well as areas for exercise, and a more flexible combination of communal and private spaces, both inside and outside.”
Estate agent Kerri Bywater, of Nottingham-based William H Brown, which markets some of Peter James Homes developments, is in full agreement.
She said: “People who might have been considering apartments are generally now looking at small houses with gardens. And those that continue to express an interest in apartments tend to want terraces, balconies or garden access, as well as additional bedrooms for guests, for extra privacy or for home offices.
“And in terms of location, it’s clear that people are also now happy to expand their search radius, often away from city centres toward countryside villages for extra space, for the freedom of the outdoors and for easy access to walks and country parks.”
It’s an observation that’s fully supported by market trends. According to surveys from both Rightmove and Savills, nearly three quarters of under-40s said that gardens and outdoor spaces had become more important to them.
The surveys also identified a surge in demand for larger homes that could accommodate multiple generations of family members, alongside a shift away from ‘open-plan’ designs toward layouts that enabled a greater degree of privacy.
Home offices with high-speed Internet have also now become a must - and in tandem with a general shift away from densely populated areas, outdoor space has also become vital. In particular, large, low-maintenance gardens add an extra dimension to family life and provide the space necessary for pets, which have themselves seen a radical surge in demand during the pandemic.
In spite of the apparent scale and speed of the UK homebuyer’s evolving priorities, Kerri believes that the property market is set to remain extremely buoyant for some time to come.
She added: “The fact of the matter is that there’s still a lot of pent up demand from 2019. People were waiting for the election. Then they were waiting for Brexit. And then Covid hit. So the backlog of serious buyers is now seeing properties (modern, ‘Covid-savvy’ properties in particular) getting snapped up more quickly than ever before.”