Lessons from the lockdown – how might our housing needs change?

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Homes with gardens and workspace are likely to be at a premium in future

Lockdown is bringing property problems to the fore. With more of us spending all our time at home, all those little gripes that could have been easily ignored in normal circumstances are now becoming painfully obvious!

Maintenance issues, a lack of storage space and too much noise are top of the list of homeowners’ and renters’ complaints, according to new research from the Homeowners Alliance published this week.

The HOA survey shows that when we’re looking for a new property to rent or buy, we tend to focus on the important physical characteristics of the property (beyond location and number of rooms). Top of the list are sufficiently sized rooms (66%), a private balcony or garden (57%) and good natural light (46%). However, more than half of renters and more than 40% of homeowners wish they’d paid more attention to other aspects of the home they picked to rent or buy.

The HOA reveals that:

  • 25% regret not paying attention to a lack of storage space;
  • 21% wish they’d looked more closely at maintenance and repairs, including the condition of the roof, electrics, boiler, plumbing, heating, damp and insulation; and
  • 21% say they are now more conscious of noise from neighbours or traffic.N

So once the lockdown is lifted, how might the Covid-19 outbreak change our homebuying and renting habits?

First, there is likely to be renewed interest in homes to rent or buy outside busy urban centres and properties with gardens will be at a premium. Buyers and renters are likely to want to avoid crowded cities and town centres and live in a home with private outside space.

Also, larger homes with flexible space and properties with home offices and a good wi-fi connection will be top of many wish-lists as more of us continue to work from home. This will have an impact on commuting too, so properties further afield may attract higher prices than they have in the past.

These potential changes in our housing needs and buying habits could also drive architects and developers to re-think the way they design our homes – and landlords who would normally focus their portfolios on towns and cities may reconsider their investment choices too.

In a very short space of time, the global pandemic has made us all reassess the way we live our lives – and the need for social distancing may not change anytime soon. Chances are that the ‘new normal’ will filter through to our housing preferences too.

Why not READ our Planet Rent Blog too: blog.planetrent.co.uk