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COVID-19 impact: One in four buyers likely to move house in the next 12 months, says Knight Frank Global Buyer Survey

Home offices have become important, with 64 percent of the respondents saying they are more likely to work from home post-lockdown

Representative image
Representative image

One in four homebuyers in a survey conducted across 44 countries is likely to move in the next 12 months as a result of the pandemic, with as many as 40 percent seeking a different property in the same location. More than half — 56 percent — of the buyers expect prices to fall over the next 12 months, the Knight Frank Global Buyer Survey said.

Upgrading the family’s main residence ranked highest as the reason for purchasing, with improved access to quality healthcare ranking second. A holiday home in the sun was ranked third, followed by business or employment reasons.

The survey analyses the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on property markets and, in particular, on residential buyers’ attitudes around the world. It represents the views of over 700 clients across 44 countries.

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Some 26 percent of home buyers said they were willing to move to a different property elsewhere in the same country and 34 percent of those considering a move are considering a purchase abroad (9 percent of all respondents).

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The UK, Spain and France top the list of preferred destinations to purchase a home, followed by Australia, Canada, Switzerland and the US. All are countries that offer a good quality of life, political stability, a secure currency, excellent education systems, and in normal times, are easily accessible. New Zealand, Portugal, Malta and Norway also ranked high.

After a period of confinement, the message from the survey respondents, not surprisingly, is that buyers want space. Forty-five per cent of respondents say they are more likely to buy a detached family home than they were prior to Covid-19, with waterfront homes (40 percent) and rural homes (37 percent) also finding favour.

More people want home offices

Having an office at home has become important, and nearly two-thirds of respondents — 64 percent — say they are more likely to work from home post-lockdown. Thirty-two per cent say their working lifestyle will remain the same as before, suggesting the office still has an important role to play as a hub for innovation, collaboration, education and socialisation.

Two-thirds of the respondents — 66 percent — say large gardens and outdoor spaces are more important, with the lockdown period having emphasised the connection between wellbeing and the great outdoors.

Privacy is also in demand with 52 percent of respondents saying it’s more important, and 33 percent are more likely to want an annex for family members, with Covid-19 perhaps underlining the desire to have elderly or extended family members close by.

Prices expected to fall

The survey highlights buyers’ expectation that prices will fall over the next 12 months. The Knight Frank Prime Global Forecast, conducted in April 2020, shows that on average, prices are anticipated to fall in 16 of the 20 cities tracked in the report in 2020.

Of the 56 percent respondents that expect prices to fall over the next 12 months, 27 percent expect prices to fall by less than 10 percent, but 25 percent expect no change and 19 percent expect prices to increase.

Some 53 percent of buyers believe their budget has either remained the same or increased since the start of the crisis. With few opportunities to spend during the lockdown, it is likely buyers have spent less and saved more.

However, over 30 percent of respondents believe their budget has declined by over 10 percent since the start of the crisis, no doubt as a result of companies having to resort to salary cuts, reduced hours or redundancies.

Preference for second homes

Over 26 percent of the respondents said they were more likely to buy a second home as a result of the pandemic, presumably to enhance their lifestyle and to use as a retreat in the event of a second spike.

The UK, Spain and France are the top three locations for those considering a move abroad post-Covid-19.

Nearly two-thirds of buyers say that while looking for a second home abroad they would be influenced by the government's handling of the Covid-19 crisis. Countries such as Germany, Austria, Greece, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and New Zealand may, as a result, rate highly among second-home buyers in the coming months.
First Published on Aug 5, 2020 04:54 pm
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