Gardens and green spaces sought after by new home buyers


OUTDOOR areas and green spaces are proving popular with new house buyers, according to latest stats.

Following the reopening of the housing market in England, the May 2020 RICS Residential Market Survey saw a ‘slight improvement’ in the outlook for sales over the coming year across the UK as a whole.

The UK headline net balance for new buyer enquiries moved from a record low of -94% in April to post a reading of -5% in May.

RICS said activity metrics did not see ‘meaningful changes’ in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, where restrictions on estate agents were not removed in May.

In Scotland, the indicator for new buyer enquiries remained close to a record low of -81% and the indicator for newly agreed sales was at similarly low levels of -84%.

However, Scottish respondents were less pessimistic regarding the outlook, with a net balance of -10% recorded for sales expectations over the next three months. 12-month sales expectations turned positive (moving from -18% to +10%) for the first time since February.

In an extra question included in the May survey, contributors were asked for their views and information on what is coming up when speaking to buyers, regarding potential shifts in the desirability of certain features of properties over the next two years.

81% of respondents said there will be an increase in desire for properties with gardens or balconies; 74% predict an increase in demand towards homes located near green spaces; and 68% are of the opinion that properties with greater private and less communal space will become more desirable.

78% of respondents sense there will be a fall in the appeal of tower blocks and 58% feel properties located in highly urban areas will be less enticing.

Hew Edgar, head of UK Government relations and city strategy said, “As Scotland eyes up the highly anticipated reopening of the housing market, potentially next week, this month’s survey feedback provides valuable insight that can inform the Scottish Government and developers of new housing requirements. It is clear that post-lockdown buyers are beginning to reappraise high-density living and looking for more space. Space inside their future homes and outside. What is also clear is that the Scottish workforce is looking to spend more time at home, and this will inevitably increase bills for owner-occupiers, and tenants in both the private and social rented sectors. As such, the Government should look at ways to incentivise the repair, maintenance and improvement of existing properties as a means to ensure the health and wellbeing of individuals working from homes in Scotland, as well as restricting a possible increase in fuel poverty.”

Alex Inglis MRICS of Galbraith Group in the Scottish Borders commented, “Little sales activity has taken place during the lockdown but selling clients are generally still keen to get things under way when the lock down is eased. Potential buyers are generally still hoping to move. There is particular demand for rural and village / small town properties.”