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The latest residential property market news and opinions, plus news about Centrick
One of the big knock-on effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been a much greater appreciation of, and connection to, nature, with a considerable rise in the number of people taking up running, cycling and walking to maintain their physical and mental health.
When we were in the height of lockdown, the one form of exercise allowed each day became highly prized. It also gave people a far greater appreciation of parks, commons, woodland and other nearby green space, as well as their own garden/outdoor space.
In many cases, though, people were left frustrated by their lack of garden/outdoor space and may now be considering a move to a property which provides this.
It’s certainly the case, now that the property market is back up and running and people are allowed to move again, that many prospective buyers will be prioritising garden/outdoor space. As a seller, it could now be a major selling point amongst a much bigger range of buying demographics than was the case before.
searches for houses with gardens had risen by 42% in May 2020
Here, we examine findings from surveys pointing to the increasing importance of garden/outdoor space, as well as offering tips on how sellers can maintain and show theirs off in the best possible way.
New buyers looking for outside areas and green space
The latest research from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has highlighted how important outside space will be to buyers post-pandemic.
In the May 2020 RICS Residential Market Survey, contributors were asked for their views on what they were hearing when speaking to buyers, regarding potential shifts in the attractiveness of certain elements of properties over the next two years (owing to recent events).
Unsurprisingly, 81% of respondents across the UK said that there will be a rising desire for properties with gardens or balconies. Meanwhile, 74% predicted a growth in demand towards homes located near green spaces, and 68% believed that properties with greater private and less communal space would become more popular.
On the other hand, 78% of respondents said there will be a drop in the appeal of tower blocks and 58% stated that properties located in highly urban areas will now be less enticing. In spite of non-essential travel on public transport still being discouraged, and the dramatic fall in passenger numbers in recent months, the majority of those surveyed expected no change in the desirability of homes located close to transport hubs.
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, said there are already signs that those looking to buy a house are responding to the conditions created by the pandemic by seeking out properties with gardens or balconies and nearer green space.
“These and other similar features are likely to increasingly command a premium over higher density urban locations,” he added.
Gardens the newest must-have for purchasers
According to property website Rightmove, two in five potential homebuyers have changed what they are looking to buy as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It revealed that half of renters (49%) and 39% of buyers currently in the market said lockdown had had an impact on what type of home they were seeking, with both now prioritising garden space or wanting to live in a bigger home.
In a similar way to homeworking space now becoming a priority for many buyers due to the pandemic, and the large rise in remote working this has led to, gardens and outside space – such a prized asset as a place to escape to during lockdown – have taken on an equal level of importance in buyers’ minds. Rightmove recently reported that searches for houses with gardens had risen by 42% in May 2020 compared to the same month last year. In its survey of more than 4,000 home-movers, it found that certain features are becoming more important to buyers than ever before.
When asked the main change to what they now want in their next home, 63% of buyers said they wanted a bigger garden or access to one, comfortably the biggest new priority for purchasers.
The survey also found that, in lockdown, there had been a growth of 19% in people gardening indoors, and 15% in people gardening outdoors. When asked if they plan to continue doing these activities in the future, 82% said they wanted to garden outdoors, while 89% wanted to exercise outdoors.
All of which, once again, points to a massive spike in demand for garden or outdoor space.
Make sure your garden is in its best shape
If you have garden or outdoor space, no matter how big or small, you should absolutely flaunt it. As we can see from the above, it is likely to be a major selling point for many buyers post-lockdown, particularly as the threat of a second wave of coronavirus and further lockdowns still looms.
Along with homeworking areas, more space in a bigger home and closer proximity to parks and green space, your garden or outdoor space is likely to be a major consideration for buyers in the new normal.
As such, it needs to look the part, both during initial virtual viewings and physical in-person viewings, too. It needs to be well-maintained and make a real statement to buyers, given its increasing importance.
Fortunately, garden maintenance doesn’t take much time, effort, expertise or money – on a basic level, at least. Mow the lawn, de-weed where necessary, jet-wash your patio and add some hanging baskets or new flowers for colour and vibrancy. If you have a BBQ or seating area, or stand-out decking, make sure this is in the best possible condition.
What’s more, if you have a stand-out feature – for example a pond or a grand water feature – don’t be afraid to build the rest of your garden around this centrepiece.
If you want to absolutely maximise the potential and saleability of your garden space, you may wish to hire in a gardener or landscape artist to get it looking up to scratch – as long as anyone visiting your home adheres to the government guidelines on social distancing and hygiene at all times. This will be more expensive than a DIY approach in the short-term, but could be paid back many times over if your garden proves to be a deal-breaker.
Here at Centrick, we will do all we can to help you buy or sell a home while also following the new guidelines to the letter. To find out about our current operations, please get in touch with us today. If you want to find out how much your home could be worth, check out our instant valuation tool.
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