Has 2020 Forced A Change To Our Home Hunting Habits?

Aylesford and the River Medway

This truly has been a year like no other. But just how much has it affected our habits when looking for a new home, and have our priorities changed along the way? We researched the top house hunting Google search topics of the year and compared them with the twelve months previous, to reveal any staggering differences.

Read on to discover how we’re shifting away from city life, whether it’s the right time to buy, how our entertainment habits are changing, and whether Brits are beginning to prioritise great outdoors.

Are people steering away from major cities?

With work-from-home habits likely to extend into the new year, and ultimately become the new normal as we transition into life beyond COVID, our data suggests those hunting for a new home have begun placing greater importance on location and less on commutability.

In fact, at county level, Google search queries of ‘houses for sale in Buckinghamshire’ and ‘houses for sale in Berkshire’ spiralled by almost 75% across the last twelve months. This trend is echoed across a series of Southern counties, with interest in Surrey, Hertfordshire, and Hampshire all also rising by over 50% in 2020. Price data from Zoopla demonstrates a staggering additional cost of £90,000-£315,000 when buying a home in the capital than in its nearby counties, so it’s no surprise that families are looking to make the move away.

Heading north, searches for homes in West Yorkshire have risen spectacularly over the last year, with a 69% increase on the twelve months before. Interestingly, in a similar fashion to that of London’s surrounding counties, there has been a growing trend of searches that lean towards more affordable areas.

For instance, search traffic for Bradford homes, which are, on average, nearly £80,000 cheaper than those in Leeds, rose by over 50% in 2020. Continuing, searches for houses in Preston and Sunderland also demonstrated greater growth in interest than those of the pricier neighbouring cities of Manchester and Newcastle, respectively.

Is it time to buy?

In a year that can only be described using hyperbole, there has been a significant trend towards people choosing to buy rather than let – something that is often an unattainable target has fast become a reality for many. This is further evidenced through data pointing towards an increasing interest in properties for sale.

Searches for two-bedroom houses have seen the greatest rise in popularity this year, with two thirds more people showing very real interest, while terms featuring ‘for sale’ have grown across the board. If you’re a seller, strike while the iron’s hot and learn how to sell your flat quickly, effectively, and for a great price.

A growing emphasis on stay-at-home entertainment

As we enter the new year, it’s an appropriate time to acknowledge just how much our lives have changed. A strong pattern we’ve noticed, through surveying our data, is the growing emphasis house-hunters are placing on fancier-than-usual stay-at-home entertainment. And with isolation hokey cokey likely to remain on the cards for some time, it’s little surprise that house hunters are looking for properties that can accommodate for luxury leisure.

Our results show a 138% rise in interest in ‘apartment with hot tub’ searches, while ‘house with tennis court’ and ‘house with swimming pool’ have each also seen more than twice the search volume in 2020 than the year before.

Similarly, our data highlights leanings towards a prioritisation of home-relaxation. With a lot of us spending more of our working day at home, it’s increasingly important to develop and nurture a healthy work-life balance; search volume for ‘house with conservatory’ has grown by over 100% in the last twelve months, demonstrating a rising necessity amongst Brits for a dedicated area to relax and unwind.

Engaging with the outdoors from the boundaries of our home

After a year of lockdowns, restrictions, and isolating, our research suggests Brits’ priorities have shifted towards enjoying and revelling in sheer simplicity. After a tougher twelve months than most, this mentality change is demonstrated by an impressive 70% national increase in search queries for houses with gardens. Perhaps more remarkable, though, is the nearly-150% growth in searches for apartments with balconies, highlighting that even the tenacious metropolitans crave a little freedom.

After spending much of the year caged in our own homes, it’s no real shock that many of us are searching for a release that allows us to enjoy the natural world, even when shielding.

A greater value placed on making it a full-family home

Our research suggests that many families looking to upsize are doing so in the name of moving their elderly parents and grandparents in with them. Searches for ‘house with annex’ and ‘house with granny flat’ have grown by 50% in the last year, highlighting an increasing innate appreciation for priceless family moments only realised through spending quality time together.

With so many elements pointing towards habitual change in the way we perceive our home, perhaps it’s time to alter your approach. Whether you’re looking to make the move to suburbia or beyond, or simply considering a few lifestyle changes, we’re on hand to make moving simple. For more incredible insight and all the latest in the property world, head to our blog.

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