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Dataloft Homemover Survey, May 2020

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Restrictions on the housing market in England were unexpectedly lifted on 13th May. Over the following 10 days, Dataloft carried out a snapshot survey to gauge initial views from potential buyers and sellers across the country. Were those who had been thinking of moving earlier in the year still happy to commit to the market within the ‘new norm’ of socially distanced viewings and all the challenges of moving in the current climate? Or, will home moving decisions become yet another cancelled objective of 2020, moved into the ‘maybe next year’ category or even disposed of indefinitely?

Over the ten day period following the reopening of the housing market, agents across the country were asked to send out a short survey to their list of potential applicants and vendors. In response, Dataloft received just under 450 completed questionnaires. Homemovers respondents from across the country, with around half from London.

HOMEMOVER SURVEY RESULTS

Summary

The results from our snapshot survey of homemovers intentions is encouraging for agents. The vast majority of potential vendors still intend to market their homes with a large proportion prepared to make the step as soon as possible or at least within a few months. While many vendors are still hoping that the market has not dropped in price, there does seem to be some realism that vendors may need to accept some discount.

Buyers are also motivated to continue with their home search, with many hoping to make the move sooner rather than later. Some purchasers are looking with a lower budget than they were earlier in the year although, for the majority, this has not changed. The impact of lockdown will have longer term implications though and buyers are reconsidering what they are looking for in their new homes.

Vendors

Around half of respondents had been planning to sell their home before lockdown restrictions put a halt to their plans. Of these, the vast majority (95%) still intend to sell their home. More than half (52%) plan to list their home for sale as soon as they can and a further 27% will sell within a few months. Just 5% have changed their mind completely while 16% plan to sell their home next year.

Potential vendors outside London are a little more urgent to sell. 58% of those outside London who had been considering listing their property for sale before lockdown are now looking to sell as soon as possible. This compares with 42% in London. The proportion who have cancelled their plans is consistent both in and outside London.

Source: Dataloft Homemover Survey, showing response of those who had been planning to sell their home before lockdown

The guidelines on re-opening the market included recommendations on social distancing rules to safely carry out valuations and viewings. Nonetheless, it is understandable that vendors might have some concerns about allowing people back into their homes. It is no surprise that those who are looking to delay their sale until next year showed the greatest concern about allowing physical viewings. However, 83% of vendors who are looking to sell as soon as possible were either very or fairly comfortable with having potential purchasers view their homes assuming social distancing measures were followed.

Source: Dataloft Homemover Survey, showing response of those who had been planning to, and still intend to sell their home

While 69% of those who are still looking to sell their homes in the short to medium term expect to market their properties at the same valuation that they were given before Covid-19, there is a sizeable proportion who have accepted that the market value of their home may not be the same as it was. Almost a third, 27%, expect to market their homes at a lower price.

Source: Dataloft Homemover Survey, showing response of those who had been planning to, and still intend to sell their home

Home buyers

Three quarters of respondents to the homemover survey had been actively searching for a new home before lockdown. Of these, just 6% have cancelled their plans completely. More than three fifths are actively looking to buy as soon as they find the right home or sell their existing property. London buyers seems a little more hesitant than those outside of London. While 92% still intend to buy, 35% are delaying for a few months or until next year compared to 24% of buyers outside London.

Source: Dataloft Homemover Survey, showing response of those who had been actively looking for a new home before lockdown

Just under half (46%) of buyers’ home requirements have changed as a direct result of lockdown and Covid-19. With working from home set to become the ‘new norm’ for many, space to work and broadband speeds are now a much more important consideration for many. Topping the list though, just under a third of buyers said that having a garden has become a much more important consideration for them than before lockdown.

Source: Dataloft Homemover Survey, showing response of those who had been actively looking for a new home before lockdown and still intend to move. Respondents could choose more than one option

Finally, Dataloft asked buyers about the budget for their new home. For those still intending to buy, 71% said that their budget had not changed. A fifth (21%) said that they had a lower budget for their home. This could be a result of concern over their job prospects and pay or wider economic conditions. It is important to note that, despite these concerns and the desire to pay less for a home, they are still confident enough in their own personal circumstances to be looking to commit to a property purchase.

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