Homeowners reassess what they want post COVID-19

Homeowners are reassessing what they want in a house as a result of the COVID-19 situation, according to research, including relocating from cities and large towns.

The results, published by a leading property company, suggest people looking to move home are willing to spend more on larger properties with gardens and away from urban sprawls.

Doug Hughes, Principal Architect and Managing Director at Mid Wales-based architectural design and planning practice Hughes Architects, believes the trend will see demand increase for residential properties that can be adapted, extended and remodelled.

“The coronavirus pandemic has affected us all. The way we live and work are two of the most important parts of our lives and this latest research demonstrates many people are re-evaluating their lifestyles as a result,” he said.

The trend is increasing for more space and countryside living

“There was already an increasing trend of people moving out of cities, such as London and Birmingham, to smaller towns and countryside areas. In the past 12 months we have certainly had a jump in enquiries and commissions from clients who have purchased rural properties in Mid Wales and Shropshire to extend or remodel and this was before COVID-19.

“And in the past two months alone we have definitely seen enquiries increase for such projects.”

The property research found buyers want:

• Access to a garden
• A bigger home
• A garage
• A better home workspace
• Close to parks or countryside

“While newly built properties will offer many of these features, the majority of enquiries to us have been based on older existing houses – even listed properties. The owner or potential buyer is looking to adapt the property to how they want it. This can include extending it with living space and bedrooms or remodelling existing space to create new and larger areas.

“In many cases, and subject to planning permission in some, this has included opening up ground floor living space into the surrounding gardens with bi-folding glazed doors or creating open plan areas from a myriad of smaller rooms.”

Adapting to working from home – for the long-term

Doug said changes to the way we work is also making a difference.

“With many people working from home during the pandemic the issue of workspace at home has also come to the fore. Many have had to work from kitchen tables or spare bedrooms. Not ideal by anyway for a busy family.

“In the long-term we will see many people either having to or preferring to work from home, possibly part-time or even full-time. As a result, they want dedicated areas to work from so that they can distinguish between work and home life.

“Converting space into specific work areas will be a key to this and something the research has also picked up on. It’s nothing new though. As more people have been choosing to move from the cities, commuting to work for meetings only occasionally, they have specified studies or home offices within building plans.

“The conversion of outbuildings or barns into offices is another, including annexes for visiting family and friends.”

Converting modern agricultural and commercial buildings for residential use

Some local authorities are also happy to consider the conversion of more modern agricultural and commercial buildings into residential properties.

“Many of the barns and large agricultural structures built in the 1980s and 1990s are suited for conversion. These can often provide more unique and innovative living accommodation and allows for great imagination,” said Doug.

“Many planning authorities are happy to consider such conversion in place of new properties being built.”

New build on site of existing property A stone barn conversion designed by Hughes Architects Coach House conversion by Hughes Architects