It will probably come as no surprise to learn that as the UK begins to leave the coronavirus lockdown there has been a surge in demand for bungalows. Whether renting or looking to purchase property, it looks as though the highly contagious virus has prompted a change in UK property buying patterns. Is this a sign of things to come or just a knee-jerk reaction to Covid-19?
Changing property market trends
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, houses and flats were the two most popular types of property in the UK. Fast forward and as the UK comes out of the lockdown demand has switched to bungalows and houses with flats being shunned by many buyers. The report by RightMove confirmed that buyers were looking towards three-bedroom houses while renters are focusing on two-bedroom houses or bungalows.
It is worth reminding ourselves that we are not yet out of the lockdown and there are serious concerns of a second wave of the coronavirus towards the end of 2020 or early 2021. As a consequence, it is no surprise to see some investors/renters looking for “more space” rather than investing/renting in heavily populated flat developments.
Will this property trend continue?
The simple fact is, no. While this may seem fairly definitive let’s not forget that the UK is a population of 66 million people with London having a population larger than Scotland but just a fraction of the landmass. The further south you move in the UK, beyond the Midlands, the greater the population density and London is just crazy. While the capital is obviously the main transport hub of the UK many believe that the coronavirus was so prevalent because of the extremely heavy population density. Can this be changed overnight?
The reality is that space in and around the capital is at a premium. As a consequence, there will be no real let-up in huge flat developments as a means of housing as many people as possible in as small a space as possible. This is cost-effective, maximises returns and ultimately allows more and more people to be housed in and around the capital. The same can be said for many areas of the south-east which together with London have been economic and the property market heartbeat of the UK for years.
Could flat development designs be changed as a consequence of the coronavirus?
In a perfect world we would all have more space in which to live, more privacy and when it comes to challenges such as the coronavirus, more protection. Those who believe we will see huge changes in the style of flat developments going forwards are kidding themselves. Money talks at the end of the day and if more people want houses and bungalows they will need to pay the price. At this point, let’s also remind ourselves that the average UK property price is now well beyond the reach of first-time buyers. So, pushing houses and bungalows to potentially hugely inflated prices, does that make economic/business sense?
In the short term we may see continued growth in demand for houses and bungalows as investors and tenants look for additional protection against the coronavirus going forward. Unfortunately, when prices and rent levels are pushed towards unsustainable levels the economic realities will hit home. Is there really any more to say?