What first time buyers are looking for from a property – according to Google trends

With the stamp duty holiday and numerous other government initiatives in place with the aim to help turn Generation Rent into Generation Buy, now could be the ideal time to finally get a foot on the property ladder. 

As the pandemic has caused a delay in people being able to move homes and get onto the property ladder, more of us are reconsidering what we really need in a new home, the experts at Heating Wise explain. The pandemic has resulted in people revaluating what they are looking for. 

So, what are first time buyers looking for in their first homes and how did the pandemic affect their decisions? Let’s see what we can tell from online searches.

‘Home office’ has seen a 369% uplift in searches since June 2021

One of the biggest changes the pandemic has brought is working from home. Before the pandemic hit, working from home was not a normal occurrence, as many companies didn’t realise how easy and convenient it could be. After a year of working on makeshift desks in our bedrooms or sharing the kitchen table, it’s no wonder that first time buyers are looking to have their own office/workspace.

Whether looking specifically for properties with an extra bedroom to turn into an office space or just larger spaces so families don’t feel so cramped, first time buyers are trying to incorporate their work life with their home life. 

‘Best rural places to live’ has seen a 9,900% uplift in searches

The pandemic is also responsible for making first time buyers rethink where they need to live. One in five first time buyers have said they are looking for a home in the countryside, rather than big cities in the UK, as there is no longer a necessity to live near their workplace.

Even as restrictions are beginning to ease, many companies are still offering flexible working opportunities, where workers aren’t required to stay in the office full time. This means there’s less of a need to live in expensive and often overcrowded areas and many can get more for their money in more rural areas. 

“While there hasn’t been the mass exodus out of London, as some predicted would happen during the height of the pandemic, more people have been selling their properties as a result of seeing the benefits of commuting less and living in less urbanised areas whilst still staying productive,” comments Ruban Selvanayagam of Property Solvers (a quick home buying company).

‘Energy efficient homes’ has seen a 9,100% uplift in searches

Many of us are trying to be more mindful of our carbon footprint and making environmentally friendly lifestyle changes where possible. As 40% of UK carbon emissions comes from our own households, our homes are one of the biggest contributors to climate change, whether that’s from old and inefficient heating systems to high levels of household waste. Many of us are aiming to make a change and reduce our carbon footprint.

Homes are given an energy performance certificate (EPC) which evaluates the energy efficiency of a building. An EPC is important for buyers as it can show how much energy bills are likely to cost once you move in. The certificate shows the real rating alongside a potential rating, and this can be used to show the improvements needed to help make the building more environmentally friendly.

This is important for first time buyers, as it gives them a good understanding of both how much their bills are likely to cost, but it helps them work out how much maintenance and work they will potentially need to do on their new home. 

‘Properties with garden’ has seen a 9,900% uplift in searches

According to online estate agents, four in ten buyers are looking for a bigger garden or outside space in their new homes. Many first-time buyers appreciate outdoor space so much more after spending the last year or so stuck indoors with lockdown restrictions.

In addition to this, a lot of people have taken to gardening and tending plants during lockdown, perhaps to keep occupied. Being outside and amongst nature can be so therapeutic and helpful for our mental health. While many have turned to indoor plants to get our green finger fix, there’s no denying a dedicated outdoor space can make a real difference.  

‘First time buyers houses’ has seen a 9,100% uplift

Reports have suggested that during the pandemic, buyers are favouring larger properties with outdoor space, with flats seeing considerably lower levels of house price growth. After a period stuck inside, it’s no wonder first time buyers are looking for a bit more space than they would normally get in, say, a house share.

Location is also significant with buying a house over a flat, as in certain locations like city centres, a house is less common and therefore can be much more expensive, which is why rural locations are also being favoured. First time buyers who are learning the market, understand that they can get more space for their money further away from city centres.  

Photo by Phil Hearing