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Here’s What Homebuyers and Tenants Really Want

The landscape of the housing market is constantly changing, reflecting updates to the needs and wants of homebuyers and tenants. We’re going to break down what the latest data tells us regarding the preferences of buyers and landlords.

An annual survey conducted recently by Property Academy, which involved 20,000 participants, including sellers, buyers, tenants, and landlords, reveals some interesting trends.

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What is the number 1 desire for buyers?

Contrary to popular belief, the demand for home office spaces and environmentally friendly homes is not at the forefront of buyers’ minds.

In fact, the preference for electric vehicle chargers is even lower, at just 3%. Similarly, energy efficiency, despite the ongoing cost of living crisis, is a key factor for only 34% of buyers. In 2023, 35% of people said they needed a home office space, that’s now only 29%.

Today, things are a bit different. 43% of buyers want pleasant neighbours, 45% seek amenities in close proximity, and a significant 78% desire a garden. The findings indicate a remarkable shift from the previous year, with a move towards a more community-centric and practical approach to housing.

Tenants prefer affordability and convenience

For tenants, the top priorities are quite different.

Although, the survey shows that 86% of tenants also value good neighbours, 80% prioritise having a parking space. The most critical factor, however, is affordable rent, with 96% of tenants placing it at the top of their list. Interestingly, tenants are willing to pay extra for certain amenities, like pet-friendly properties and good soundproofing.

Half of the tenants would make a faster decision on a rental property if utility bills were included, and a third would be willing to pay more rent for this convenience. This reflects a growing trend towards ‘all-inclusive’ rental packages, similar to the all-inclusive holidays that Britain is fond of.

The landlord’s perspective

The survey in question reveals that two-thirds of landlords have increased or plan to increase rent in the next 18 months. This is primarily to cover rising running costs and mortgage payments.

However, many landlords value reliable tenants; three-quarters would prefer to keep a tenant who pays on time and cares for the property over a higher rent offer from a new tenant.

Interestingly, over half of the landlords own their properties outright, shielding them from the impact of rising mortgage rates. Despite this, a significant portion of landlords (20%) intend to sell at least one rental property within the next year, citing increased legislation and management hassles.

Home selling trends are changing

The reasons people sell homes are evolving. Discretionary moves have decreased, with relocation for lifestyle changes or to be closer to family dropping from 33% in 2020 to 25% in 2023. Upsizing motivates only 16% of sellers now, down from 22% at the start of the pandemic. In contrast, downsizing is on the rise, driving 18% of current home sales.

What will change in the future?

The Property Academy’s survey sheds light on the evolving preferences of homebuyers and tenants in the UK. The findings outline a shift towards community and practicality. For buyers, good neighbours and a garden are more crucial than trendy open-plan designs or high-tech features.

Tenants prioritise affordability and convenience, reflecting a broader trend towards ‘all-inclusive’ living. Landlords, facing their own set of challenges, are adapting to these shifting preferences, with many considering changing their investment strategies. This gradual evolution in the housing market reflects a continued move towards the broad and timeless societal values of community, practicality, and affordability.

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