5 Trends in the Property Market Post COVID
First time buyers
First-time buyer demand has now surpassed pre-lockdown levels, with an 87% revival since the property market reopened, according to Zoopla. The stamp duty holiday may have helped first-time buyers get on the property ladder in expensive areas like London but outside of the South the surge in first time buyers scrambling to get onto the property ladder seems surprising given the economic turmoil of the past months. Perhaps post-lockdown the importance of a family home as a safe haven has spurred on the boom in first-time buyers.
New planning laws come into effect
On the 30th June 2020 the “most radical reforms to our planning system since the Second World War” were introduced, making it easier to change use and build up without planning permission. The measures have not been without controversy – whilst proponents of the loosening of regulation argue it will plug the housing shortage others believe it will produce low quality builds. Whilst it remains to be seen how this will affect the property market it is clear it will spur on and quicken the process for lots of developers.
Buyer demand for new build homes increased by 66% in the six weeks following the property market reopening and is now in line with demand levels recorded at the start of the year. With millennials saying they are more likely to purchase a house if it looks ‘Instagrammable’, it is expected the demand for new, modern builds is only going to rise.
Changing nature of the High Street
Whilst retail to residential development had taken off long before the pandemic, post C-19 the amount of vacant retail space is set to increase as shops and offices move to online trading. This change opens up a new opportunity that coupled with the new planning laws will allow developers to create much-needed new houses. Whilst the number of commercial properties approved for conversion to residential housing increased by just 2.8% last year, it is expected that this will drastically increase following the laws coming into effect this month.
Moving up North
Whilst the South has traditionally been the focus of the property investment and development in recent months the North’s potential has come to the forefront of the industry. By the end of last month it was calculated rent prices had increased by 6.5% in the North West with strong increases in Yorkshire and Northern Ireland, compared to just 0.6% average across the rest of the UK. The government also announced in July that funds from the £400m Brownfield Land Fund have been allocated across the Midlands, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, North of Tyne and Tees Valley and Merseyside to enable around 24,000 homes. With the changing landscape post C-19 the long vacant hotels and pubs up North may well be an opportunity for some to plug the housing shortage.