With the global pandemic changing working habits and lifestyles across the world, the UK property market has seen a noticeable shift in homebuyer demands as interest in buying property continues to thrive.
Nationwide restrictions brought about a “Race for Space” that saw homebuyers looking for more living and leisure space for their money, but with restrictions lifting and working from home becoming more integrated with normal working life, homebuyer demands have shifted once again.
Here, we look at how the emergence of hybrid working has impacted what homebuyers look for when buying property over the last few years.
The Rise of Hybrid Working
The pandemic and the resulting lockdowns saw an increase in working from home and, since restrictions were lifted, national statistics suggest an emerging trend of people embracing a hybrid style of working by splitting their time between working from home and working from the office.
According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of people working from home increased by more than 50% in all UK regions during the pandemic, with London and the South East experiencing a larger increase in homeworking than any other part of the country between January and March 2022.
As life returns to normality, the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) indicates that more than 8 in 10 workers who had to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic said they planned to adopt a more hybrid approach to working. A separate study showed that 39% of people aged between 30 and 49 who worked from home during the pandemic now have the opportunity to work from home as of February 2022.
The rising popularity of hybrid working has been picked up by several large businesses throughout the UK, with a report from JLL revealing that 77% of companies surveyed saying they will give greater focus on facilitating hybrid, flexible and remote working as they believed that it’s crucial to attracting and retaining a quality workforce as workers’ demands change.
With many businesses actively embracing hybrid working and no signs of this trend slowing down despite all COVID restrictions being dropped, how has this impacted the property market?
Changing Homebuyer Demands
The rise in hybrid working has seen homebuyers, particularly first-time buyers, reconsider what they look for when buying property. With the “Race for Space” seemingly slowing down and the needs of homebuyers changing, here are some emerging trends.
In an increasingly technological working world, it was internet connectivity that kept people working throughout the pandemic and its lockdowns.
As a result, internet connectivity now plays a bigger part in the homebuyer decision. In fact, the 2021 Market Financial Solutions’ UK Homebuyers Wishlist revealed that 88% of respondents stated that a fast broadband connection was now an important factor when looking for their new property. Having previously ranked 8th in the homebuyers’ wish list, this now ranks third as working from home has evolved into hybrid working post-pandemic, highlighting how the popularity of hybrid working is changing what homebuyers deem as important considerations.
More time spent at home resulted in a greater need for convenience, leading to an increase in demand for amenities within or close to new property developments which help facilitate the emerging hybrid-style of working.
On-site amenities provide the ultimate convenience to residents, and research conducted by Savills emphasised that “wellness amenities across branded residential developments is robust and growing”. Whilst this research echoed that internet connectivity was an “essential” factor in homebuyer decisions, the study revealed that swimming pools, spas and wellness services ranked as the second most desirable amenity in new build residential development as Covid placed greater emphasis on taking care of our health.
As energy prices rise, there has been a notable increase in people wanting a more energy efficient home in order to reduce costs and their carbon footprint.
According to a recent Knight Frank Global Buyer survey, 84% of respondents regard energy efficiency of a potential property as an important consideration to them, and with new builds having a higher EPC than older properties, demand for new build properties amongst homebuyers compared to previous years. Research by whathouse.com shows an 11% increase in the number of house-hunters searching for new-build properties in July compared with the previous month, and this was clear across all regions in the UK, and every property type.
Return to City Centre and Apartment Living
It’s no secret that location of a property impacts the homebuyers decision making process significantly, and whilst the pandemic fuelled a “Race for Space” with buyers gravitating towards outer city properties, current trends indicate a return to city living.
Recent property market statistics indicate growing demand for property for sale in city centres and commuter towns, with demand for more central apartments making a resurgence as property buyers want proximity to more amenities. Recent search data from Rightmove shows that the interest in apartments overtook interest in terraced houses since the start of this year, indicating a return to city living as restrictions have all but disappeared.
SevenCapital Property for Sale: The Grand Exchange
Our off-plan property development, The Grand Exchange, represents a new standard of living for property in Bracknell. With London and the South East experiencing the highest increase in home-working, The Grand Exchange and its exclusive, resident-only amenities make it the perfect choice for working professionals and those who are hybrid working.
Featuring a contemporary and collaborative co-working hub with high speed internet connectivity, bookable meeting or dining space, as well as wellness facilities such as a top of the range gym and a bookable treatment room; this residential development is designed to meet ever-evolving homebuyer demands and provides hybrid workers with everything they need to work efficiently from home.
Primely located within a five-minute walk of both the town centre and Bracknell train station, The Grand Exchange also offers short commutes for those working in Bracknell, nearby commuter towns such as Reading as well as London, with direct trains to London Paddington in under an hour – perfect for those days in the office.
Bracknell is a bustling commuter town that is a great choice for homebuyers, particularly those who commute to work in London and other areas of its commuter belt. But don’t just take our word for it, find out more about living in Bracknell from local residents or in our Bracknell area guide.