Recommendations to cities: Cities are starting to appeal again to property buyers

Kevin Peachey
BBC News Personal Finance Correspondent

Image source, Getty Images

According to Rightmove, potential property buyers are returning to cities with flats most in high demand during autumn.

Covid’s economic impact on the UK housing market proved to be relatively mild. Demand and price increases remained high during the crisis.

This is due to the desire for more space. Buyers are attracted to larger properties, whether they’re rural or coastal.

As workers went back to work, however, apartments saw a revival in interest.

This is however not the return of pre-pandemic market property prices. Rightmove states that buyers are more willing to spend for privacy and space in the long term.

The gap in asking price between semi-detached houses and detached homes has been widening. A detached house’s average asking price was 76% less than one that is semi-detached. This compares to the 70% for March 2020.

Prospective buyers are also expanding their searches an average 50km. They may be willing to live a bit further from High Streets or transport connections in order that they can spend more time entertaining and working at home.

View the room with your eyes

Tim Bannister works at Rightmove in the property data department.

We know that the people who are affected by the pandemic care deeply about their community and people, but we also learned more about our own personal spaces.

As people reviewed their options and reassessed the places they would like to live, there was a significant increase in buyers in 2020. People were encouraged to either move or to plan for future relocation by government assistance, such as stamp duty holidays.

Houses in rural or outer cities were in high demand and prices have risen accordingly. Some areas were concerned that the prices of locals would drive them out of business.

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In the meantime, flat owners had difficulty selling their properties due to the cladding crises, which followed the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower.

People who did not live in city centres were less likely to choose to do so.

Rightmove says that as venues and places were opened again – prior to the Omicron variant’s emergence – buyers had shifted their preferences.

Flats saw the slowest price rise over the past year, with much less demand than houses.

Flats were the property most desired by potential buyers in autumn.

According to Mr Bannister, London’s demand for living has been increasing faster than expected, and employers have encouraged workers to go back to work, if not through hybrid models.

Markets may be still affected by the pandemic, and its effect on the economy and jobs.

This analysis also relies upon averages. However, the local housing market, demand, and property prices may be affected by many factors, including success at local schools and roads, new developments, or even failure to develop.


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