UK Homebuyer Priorities Revealed, Outdoor Space Tops the Table

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2020 triggered a major shift in the priorities of homebuyers as the realities of spending more time at home than ever before set in. For the first time in recent history, the appeal of urban areas plummeted, and those who had previously been tied to major cities set their sights on the countryside.

A year after the height of the pandemic, the transition continues to gain momentum. According to the latest figures from MFS UK, the top priorities among homebuyers today have changed little over the course of the past year.

Specifically, the MFS Homebuyer Wish List 2021 has confirmed that spacious homes with private living spaces are the number-one target for movers and first-time buyers alike.

The importance of a private outdoor space

Having conducted a poll on 1,300 homebuyers and homeowners, MFS reached the following conclusions:

The single most important factor for homebuyers today is outdoor space, with a huge 92% stating that gardens are an ‘important’ or ‘ very important’ factor.

The overall size of the house or flat in question came in as the second most important consideration, having previously been the number-one factor for prospective buyers. The overall quality of the property’s interior and proximity to parks and recreation spaces were also important factors, particularly where homes lacked private outdoor living spaces.

Third on the list were strong and reliable Internet connections, reflecting the new home office trend adopted by millions of workers across the country. A distinct decline was notable in the number of prospective buyers prioritising quick commutes and transport links to nearby towns and cities.

Overall, more than one-third (34%) of those surveyed said that the COVID-19 crisis had significantly altered the way they perceive their home and their lifestyle. But what was interesting is how just 17% said that the rise of remote working had directly inspired them to relocate.

Around one in four said that they had considered relocating to a more rural location during the course of the crisis for reasons not related to home work.

Home improvements and renovations on the up

Homeowners up and down the country are setting their sights on making the most of the properties they already own. According to MFS, 42% of homeowners indicated that they had performed home improvements or renovations over the past 12 months.

The trend was particularly prevalent in London, where a full 47% of homeowners said they had conducted improvements of some kind.

Meanwhile, specialist lenders and brokers have seen a major influx of interest from investors looking to take out affordable short-term bridging loans to fund property improvements. Renovations, extensions, and conversions in particular have become popular, enabling investors to buy, improve, and sell homes at a profit with cost-effective bridging finance.

Whether the gradual return to normality prompts an equally gradual return to urban living remains to be seen; for the time being, the appeal of the rural lifestyle shows no signs of abating for movers and buyers across the UK.