How the Covid pandemic has shaped what homeowners look for when house hunting

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the way we live our lives but also on the way we use our homes.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 2:27 pm

Kitchens were turned into classrooms and spare rooms into offices, as people were asked to stay at home in a bid to control the spread of the virus.

Outdoor space became more an important commodity too, as people made the most of their gardens and local parks.

For many homeowners, these once short-term adjustments are now major considerations when buying a new home.

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Redrow found that indoor space and gardens were very high on Yorkshire consumers priority lists. Pictured: Thorpe Park development.

Data from the March House Price Index report found that found that houses were selling, on average, three weeks faster than flats, as peopled looked for more space due to lockdown.

Housebuilder Redrow, the developers behind Thorpe Park and Garforth's Roundwood estate, surveyed more than 2,000 consumers across Britain about their preferences when purchasing a new home.

It found that indoor space and gardens were very high on Yorkshire consumers priority lists, with spacious living arrangements that offer functionality to adapt, spread out and create dedicated spaces for working, play and living are now at the forefront of people's minds.

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The majority of Yorkshire respondents (78 per cent) aspire to live in a two-storey detached home with a front garden, large rear garden and dedicated parking for two cars side by side to the front of the home with a garage.

Meanwhile 35 per cent stated a preference for a two-storey detached traditional home with period features like a bay window.

Only 2 per cent and 4 per cent of respondents stated they would choose to live within a terraced home or townhouse respectively.

A desire to be near green, open spaces, also rings true within the research, with 75 per cent of Yorkshire respondents stating that they would find being near to open spaces beneficial in any future home move.

Interestingly, 65 per cent of Yorkshire respondents stated that it would be beneficial to have enough space in their home to exercise or create a home gym.

Attractive streets are important to consumers too, with 88 per cent nationally stating that a street comprising homes of the same style but with their own individual character would be their preference over homes that were the same build as every other home on the street.

Kevin Parker, Group Master Planning Director at Redrow, said: “With most people spending more time in their homes than ever before over the last 12 months, our personal living situations and housing needs have been put under the microscope.

"It is crucial that housebuilders and policy makers listen closely to how consumer preferences have changed during the pandemic to create the most suitable homes on an informed basis.

“Our findings reveal that consumer aspirations lean strongly toward detached two-storey homes with a larger footprint which enable areas to be carved out in the home for different uses, whether that’s sitting around the table for a family meal, home working in a dedicated area, or taking online exercise classes.”

During the pandemic, many people were unable to spend time socialising with their friends and family, and it became more apparent that having a community was important to them.

When it comes to the subject of neighbourly relations, 73 per cent of Yorkshire respondents believe it is either very or fairly important to personally know their neighbours.

Of those who have neighbours, half (50 per cent) said they are now interacting with their neighbours in a positive manner on a weekly basis due to the pandemic.

Sarah Carr, planning director for Redrow Yorkshire said: “These findings support our current thinking around placemaking.

"We build our communities so they provide residents with thoughtful, natural communal outdoor spaces and amenities which are ideal for creating those ‘chance’ interactions between neighbours which help relationships flourish and build social cohesion.

"Nature for people’ is one of eight placemaking principles integral to every one of our developments and we strive to provide a legacy of green spaces and natural habitats for wildlife and people alike.”

Redrow surveyed 2,038 adults on YouGov online between Feburary 26 to 28.