The coronavirus lockdown has been a life-changing time for all of us, and almost every industry has been affected in some way. At Hancock and Partners estate agents in Chichester, one of the most significant changes that we have noticed in recent times is the change in property priorities for both renters and buyers.
With so many of us now working from home, and others self-isolating, homeowners are now re-visiting what they require in a property and re-evaluating what is most important to them when moving to a new house. Certain aspects of homes which were previously not seen as essential, may now have a far greater impact on a final buyer or tenant decision. To help vendors and landlords understand these changing priorities in the housing market, we have put together this post to highlight the trends we have noticed.
People want to move to the country and seaside
The lockdown has forced people to spend a significant amount of time in their homes, resulting in a switch in priorities, now that the previously desired atmosphere of the hustle and bustle in the city is no longer as appealing or even possible. The countryside has never looked more attractive than at this time, with buyers and tenants looking to contact estate agents in small cities like Chichester, enquiring about areas which they may not have considered in the past. A surge in mortgage enquiries from first time buyers looking to move to seaside towns further confirms this trend. It is important to emphasise not only the property’s features but also what is outside on the doorstep in terms of beauty spots where people can enjoy outdoor pursuits.
Home office space
As we have already touched upon, with an increasing number of people working from home, the requirement for a home office space is now an essential part of the house-hunting experience. Employers have seen that working from home can be just as productive and provides a better work-life balance for many. This means that buyers are looking for potentially bigger properties than they may have done before, as people are opting for the flexible working experience for the longer term. Where previously the kitchen table may have sufficed for the odd WFH day, a dedicated space with desk, phone and Wi-Fi is now a priority for many. Where residents are looking to avoid their commute entirely, a home office is now an essential room in a post-lockdown property and likely to command a premium for sales and rentals.
While school age children doing online school have been competing for bandwidth with parents dialing into Zoom work meetings, we are seeing growing evidence that Broadband Speed or Internet Connectivity can be a factor in house prices and rental incomes as people are willing to pay more for a property with faster Broadband speeds. Rightmove now includes broadband speeds and availability to its listings of homes for sale, and their user feedback shows that fast broadband is now more important for many than transport links or schools. With the additional increase in TV streaming as a means of entertainment, we can be thankful that the gap between rural and City broadband speeds is slowly reducing thanks to big efforts by providers and local government. In Chichester over 91% of the Broadband coverage is considered Superfast at >30Mbps.
Access to outdoor spaces
Where previously many commuters had to live centrally for work, close to road networks or public transport, so many companies are now looking at remote working for the foreseeable future. In a very short space of time, moving to the countryside seems like a very feasible option for numerous households across the UK. For many, a good reason to move further afield is the easier access to open outdoor spaces, such as local parks, and cycle routes. Fitness routines have adapted considerably during this period, and outdoor exercise has become a staple in many households, so it is essential to have a beautiful place to cycle or run in the local area. Again, we are blessed in Chichester with a combination of beautiful parks in the City itself, while we have glorious coast and downland on the City outskirts.
A larger garden and outside space
With restrictions on activities in public places, a home with outdoor space has never been more appealing, so properties with a large garden, terrace or balcony have become a huge priority for homeowners. The lockdown period has opened people’s eyes to the health benefits of spending time in the outdoors, and having your own garden is one of the easiest ways to enjoy a breath of fresh air. A garden can provide you with a perfect place to relax with your family, a safe playing area for your children and also a place to hold socially distanced parties for your guests outdoors. While the younger working population used to consider their homes as simply a place to sleep and eat, a pit-stop between work, the gym and an evening out, even this demographic has recognised the need for their home to now provide a venue for both personal relaxation and social interaction.
Would you like to sell or rent a property in Chichester?
Situated in West Sussex, Chichester is a picturesque cathedral city which is still close enough to neighbouring Cities and London but surrounded by beautiful countryside and coastline. If you want to take advantage of the changing priorities of buyers and tenants looking for a new property in West Sussex post-lockdown, the team at Hancock and Partners we will be able to help advise you on maximising your property’s appeal.
As estate agents in Chichester, we are here to support buyers and tenants too, and work with you to provide a completely tailored service, so you can buy or rent the property that suits your needs. To speak to a member of our team, please call us on 01243 531155, and we would be happy to assist you.