One in four people are more likely to move to a new house in the next year as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic

One in four people are more likely to move to a new house in the next year as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Yet while some crave for country air and boundless space, others want breathing space, leaning towards the flexibility the rental market allows.

Today we take a closer look at the choices on offer for those rethinking their living arrangements post lock down.

Covid-19 is causing one in four buyers worldwide to consider a move in the next 12 months, according to the latest Global Buyer Survey from Knight Frank, released Wednesday in the U.K.

The new normal

Lockdown has meant many different things to many different people. For some, a chance to reconnect with loved ones. Take a step back, re-evaluate, assess their quality of life. For others, home life in confined spaces has brought sadness, anger and a need for change. Either way, it’s no surprise this massive shift of focus from workplace to homelife has seen many of us contemplating some big changes to how and where we live.

Confined to life under one roof for many months has certainly taken its toll, with the spotlight on us in how we use the space around us. What worked before may not work any longer and as we ease slowly into the new normal, these decisions are revealing themselves across the global property markets.

Shift in demand

Of the one in four people surveyed who said they were more likely to move in the next 12 months as a result of the pandemic, 40% are seeking a new property in the same location, 26% are considering a different property elsewhere in the same country and 34% are considering a purchase abroad. The U.K., Spain and France—three countries “that offer a good quality of life, political stability, a secure currency, excellent education systems and in normal times are easily accessible,” the report said—are the most coveted destinations for international purchases.

Yet, whilst many want space – it seems apartments, city crash pads and ‘fresh starts’ have proven the rental market to be as resilient as ever, with demand for lettings up by 22% compared to last year, according to RightMove. “This sustained level of demand is great news for the lettings industry, especially in light of the turbulence that 2020 has brought.” Said Lane Giani, Manager at Lamont Lettings. “It reflects the robust nature of rental property and its resilience to economic shifts.”

In fact, since estate agents were able to re-open in May, the demand for rental apartments has increased at a quicker rate than house sales.

“Many people have been left with an “immediate housing need” because of the pandemic”, housing expert Miles Shipside said. This has meant that smaller, more temporary properties are in demand for the many contemplating their next step and requiring the breathing space these living arrangements offer.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they are more likely to work from home post-lockdown, which explains why 64% say a home office is now more important. For some, lockdown has quite literally ‘brought home’ the need for wellbeing and an effective work-life balance.

Family

52% of respondents have reported a need to bring loved ones closer with 33% expressing a desire to have elderly or extended family members close by. Interestingly, improved access to quality healthcare ranked highly – and it is perhaps no coincidence that good healthcare is another common denominator of those countries listed as preferred destinations.

Business

Moving for business or employment reasons came in at fourth place. Downsizing will be one of the many down sides that this pandemic will bring as the impact of job losses slowly reveals itself.  For some however, this has come in the shape of a temporary shift side-wards rather than a full on downward move; another reason why the rental market has held its own.

And then there’s the relocations to consider. “Many people will need to move for a job” said Rightmove’s Mr Shipside. “In this environment we are in now, there is a need for people with specialist jobs to be in a certain place.”

It’s clear that as the world gathers its thoughts and prepares for life post lockdown, there are big changes on the horizon. Upsize, downsize, or sidewards step. Whatever the reason, the sales and lettings industry has a massive opportunity now to step up to the plate and facilitate these changes, delivering home owners and tenants into their new normal. And after the long, painfully still period of uncertainty our industry suffered at the hands of lockdown, there’s no question we’re ready to embrace the opportunity.”

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