House hunters swap city aspirations for country living

The property aspirations of the population are changing as Britain emerges from the pandemic, according to research from Experian.

60% of those in their 30s and 51% of those in their 20s said the past year of lockdowns had made them rethink where they’d most like to live.

This rethink means owning a city centre flat is now deemed to be outdated by 46% of those surveyed, with 69% saying they would rather buy a larger property, such as a semi-detached house, in a rural area. Dreams of a rural location were highest among people in their 30s (74%), with 58% of this age group suggesting location was more important than the property itself.

In terms of the top ten ‘must haves’ people look for in properties, a garden topped the list, reflecting the growing demand for more outdoor space following the lockdowns:

A garden: 74% Access to private parking or a driveway: 58% A spare bedroom: 55% A bath: 39% A pet friendly property: 29% The option to build an extension in the future: 20% A fireplace: 20% Wooden floors: 17% Bay Windows: 15% A period property: 13%

Although many people have suggested they want to continue working from home following the lockdowns, 61% of people in their 20s said living close to their place of work was still important.

The research found nearly two fifths (38%) of Brits said they were considering buying a new home within the next five years, rising to 68% of people in their 30s and 67% of those in their 20s.

Experian also found these younger generations were among the most active in purchasing properties while the stamp duty holiday was fully in effect. Those in their 30s accounted for 34% of the total mortgage applications made during this time, followed by those in their 40s (27%) and those in their 20s (17%).

Even though they want to own a home, 57% of people in their 20s and 55% in their 30s were worried that they would never be able to afford to buy a property or raise enough money for a deposit. The same groups expressed concerns that they’d never appear ‘mortgage-ready’ to providers, with 49% of people in their 30s and 42% in their 20s worried about this.

James Jones, Head of Consumer Affairs at Experian, said:

“Our research suggests high interest in home ownership is likely to continue over the next five years, as the pandemic shifts people’s aspirations as to what constitutes a dream home.  Green spaces are now more desirable for the majority of those looking for a property, while for those in their 20s living close to work is influential in their home choice.

“Deciding where you want to live and what kind of home you want is exciting, but people are clearly concerned they might not be able to afford a move. There are a number of government schemes such as the Lifetime ISA and Help To Buy that could help people, while knowing your credit score and taking steps to improve it will stand you in the best possible position to apply for a mortgage.”

“People with high credit scores tend to be able to access the best mortgage rates, so it’s worth taking some time to make sure your credit score is in the best possible shape while also thinking about where you want to live”.

Moving up a credit score band can have a significant impact on application approval and mortgage interest rates. People with higher credit scores tend to be able to access the best mortgage rates. Our research suggests that 49% of people with an excellent Experian Credit Score were able to get a mortgage interest rate of 1% or less.2

Today's Conveyancer