Brits seeking to move house are now looking for homes with more indoor space and modern eco features in rural locations or suburbs, according to new research from nationwide solar installation company Eco2Solar.
The research, conducted in September 2020, surveyed almost 26,000 people across the UK in a series of polls and revealed how the pandemic has changed what homeowners and buyers want from their home, whether it’s an existing property or for their next move.
While just over half (57%) said they were happy in their current home, the remaining respondents said the pandemic has motivated them to either make big changes to their existing property (21%) or to move somewhere new (22%).
The ‘new norms’ around social distancing are also influencing the type of locations people are seeking. A staggering 48% of respondents would now prefer to live in a rural location, with some even describing their ideal location as ‘remote’.
This was closely followed by the suburbs (30%), but interestingly, of those who still want to be based closer to the action, more people would now choose to live in a city (14%) than a town (8%).
Space is the now the most in-demand feature, with 43% of respondents seeking more indoor space in general, 16% wanting a home office, 22% dreaming of a bigger garden and 19% wishing they had more parking space.
In terms of extra features, almost 70% rated reliable broadband as being essential to them; a reflection on the growing number of people continuing to work from home.
The research also explored how strongly people feel about a property having environmental and sustainability credentials; a resounding 58% said this was important to them, with just 42% saying eco features were not a critical factor.
When asked what eco features they’d expect as standard in a new build property, 27% rated thermostats or smart plugs as most important, followed by double glazing or insulation (23%), an electric vehicle charging point (17%), solar panels (15%), a ground or air source heat pump (7%), restricted flow taps (6%) and energy saving appliances (5%).
However, most respondents commented that they’d actually expect to see all of the above as standard in a newly built property, and some suggested they would also like to see triple glazing, loft insulation and rainwater collectors as standard features.
Paul Hutchens, CEO of Eco2Solar, said: “The things people want from their homes tend to change all the time, but in light of the pandemic there’s been a huge surge in homebuyers looking to get out of urban areas into more spacious homes in quieter locations.
“While most people in our survey were happy where they were, almost half of the 26,000 who took part are looking to make changes or move house, and this is a reflection of the emphasis we’ve seen since the first lockdown on whether people’s homes are geared up to support their lifestyles and the new need for greater isolation, security and sustainability.
“What’s most encouraging is the shifting focus towards more environmental credentials – demand is increasing for eco features that will allow people to live more sustainably, and since we already saw the positive impact of lockdown on our environment, this is a trend that’s most certainly going to continue.”