Buyers are reportedly looking to trade up to properties within commuting distance of work
Higher-value home sales priced at more than £1 million have rebounded strongly during recent weeks as buyers look for a more permanent change to their lifestyles and work habits, according to property experts.
Buyers are reportedly looking to trade up to properties in the Home Counties, within commuting distance of work.
Those who need to travel less are “flipping” second homes at locations such as the Cotswolds and Devon, to turn these locations into their primary residence instead of a holiday home.
Property website Zoopla says sales of million-pound homes are now 16% higher across the UK compared with figures in early March.
However, the million-pound home sales still represent less than 5% of overall sales.
According to Zoopla, the number of new sales being agreed is approximately 12 percent below the figures in early March, although momentum has been growing.
It said, while England’s housing market is back open for business after the market came to a near-standstill, London is lagging behind the rest of the UK as buyers prefer locations outside of the city.
Richard Donnell, director of research and insight at Zoopla, said the coronavirus pandemic has “brought a whole new group of would-be buyers into the housing market”.
He said: Activity has grown across all pricing levels, but the higher the value of a home, the greater the increase in supply and sales as people look to trade up.
Richard said new sales in London are lagging behind as buyers look at commuting and moving into the regions.
Estate agent Savills has said property markets in England’s Home Counties locations, including Henley, Harpenden, Marlow, Farnham, Guildford and Sevenoaks, are particularly active.
It said that in the Cotswolds, Devon and Cornwall, people are looking to replace a second home with a larger family home.
They are also downsizing their family homes in London and the South East for smaller properties for use during the working week – “flipping” their main living preferences.
Lucian Cook, Savills head of residential research, said: Without doubt, pent-up demand accounts for some of the bounce in transaction numbers, but it also tells us that for those buyers with stable incomes who’ve been able to shield their finances through the lockdown, there is still a pretty strong resolve around moving, including within London’s domestic prime markets.
Lucian said, these numbers also underscore the extent to which lockdown has caused people to re-evaluate what is most important in the space they occupy, with a greater focus on outdoor space and perhaps a home working space.
“This would explain the rise of the Home Counties, while those able to consider only an occasional commute are looking further afield – to the Cotswolds, Devon and Cornwall for family lifestyle reasons – with some retaining a London base for weekday use.”
Mr. Cook added: This represents a window of opportunity for sellers, however, while transactions have ticked up, this requires pragmatism around pricing from both buyers and sellers, with the latter slightly softening their expectations on pricing.
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