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Revealed: The Top 10 Things Buyers Look for in a Property Since the Pandemic

First-time buyers across England have seen their property preferences change since the pandemic in the fact that it has become even more important for them to find a home with a private garden, fast broadband and access to open space when taking their first step onto the property ladder, a new survey has found.

In fact, 64 per cent of the potential first-time buyers surveyed stated that having a private garden has grown in importance to them since the start of the pandemic.

Ranked second and third in importance were fast broadband and a nearby open space respectively, with 62 per cent of the respondents stating fast broadband was a top post-COVID-19 priority while 61 per cent said access to nearby open space was now more important to them than before.

Next on the list of priorities for the first-time buyers, who had all registered an interest in alternative home ownership schemes such as Help to Buy or Shared Ownership, was being able to walk to local amenities (55%), followed by space to work from home (50%), then the property having a high-quality kitchen and bathroom (45%) and a balcony or terrace (41%). Being close to public transport was only eighth (32%) on their list of priorities while being close to their workplace was in tenth place (29%).

Unsurprisingly, Londoners placed ​more importance on proximity to local outdoor space, with 68 per cent stating this factor had become more important to them, compared with 62 per cent in the rest of England. First-time buyers in London also valued fast broadband (67%), a balcony or terrace (65%), walkable local amenities (61%) and space to work from home (61%) in their top five list of priorities. 

For those searching outside of London, a private garden topped the first time buyer wish list with almost 70 per cent of those surveyed (68%) confirming this has become a higher priority since the pandemic. Broadband once again scored highly (63%), followed by local green spaces (62%), walkable local amenities (61%) and high-quality kitchen and bathrooms (48%).

Being close to public transport was only eighth on the list of priorities of first-time homebuyers both inside and outside of London (32%) while being close to their workplace was only ranked tenth in their order of must-haves (29%).

These changing priorities may be an effect of the move towards ‘hybrid working’ with 60 per cent of those surveyed across England expecting to work from home for at least part of the week, even after a successful COVID-19 vaccine rollout, growing to nearly 70 per cent of respondents searching for properties in London.

However, the pandemic has not deterred first-time buyers in their quest to get onto the property ladder. Just 4.5 per cent of respondents stated that they were now less inclined to consider buying a home than previously, while nearly 50 per cent confirmed they are keener to purchase a property than they were before the pandemic.

The survey was commissioned by property portal Share to Buy and housing association Peabody. Nick Lieb, Head of Operations for Share to Buy, commented: “Following a year when we have spent more time in our homes than ever before, first-time buyers are thinking even more carefully about where they want to put down roots. 

While buyers’ priorities may have changed since COVID-19, it is encouraging to see that there is still confidence in the housing market with most of, or even more, determined to purchase a home in 2021.”

Lisa Crush, Director of Sales and Marketing for Peabody, added: “People’s appreciation of the space they inhabit, their immediate surroundings and the lifestyle that can be enjoyed from it, is more significant than ever.” 

“The home has become far more than just the four walls that surround it. We know that a home is more than just a place to live and we are placing greater emphasis on amenities such as outdoor space, roof gardens, fitness areas and co-working facilities.”

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Alex Wright, Editor