PropertyPal has carried out a survey of First Time Buyers and Home Movers in Northern Ireland to better understand the future of the local housing market.
2020 was a year like no other, particularly for the housing market. Now over halfway through 2021 and thanks to everyone’s diligent efforts and swift vaccine rollout, we slowly and cautiously enter into a state of economic and social recovery.
At PropertyPal, we continue to monitor and analyse our data to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information and insights on the Northern Ireland housing market. In 2020, we asked prospective buyers how their thoughts and priorities towards purchasing property changed during the pandemic and their experience of lockdown. The results from our 2020 Covid-19 survey were a clear indication that the housing market was expected to recover sharply, despite the deteriorating wider economic conditions. In reality, no one expected just how strong the rebound would be. This also turned out to be a global phenomenon, as markets spiked across the world as buyers quickly reassessed where they wanted to live, what they wanted out of their home and what they could afford.
From PropertyPal’s perspective, our website visitors have increased by 48% since the pandemic hit and enquiry levels from prospective buyers has reached an all-time high. But the question facing economists, policy makers and property stakeholders alike, is how long will the boom last? To try and get a first-hand perspective from our audience, we carried out a survey of 1795 adults over the period 2 to 9 June 2021, of which 90% were local First Time Buyers and Home Movers. We have analysed their responses to form a view of what factors influenced 2020 home buyers, what people now want in terms of price, location, house features, and where they see house prices going in the next year.
The following chapters outline these findings, some of which may surprise you.
For example, the much-muted stamp duty holiday was the main reason for purchasing for only 7% of respondents, despite the ongoing narrative of how much a factor it was. We have all experienced the importance of having an outdoor space to relax and enjoy our leisure time. Almost 90% of prospective buyers have said having a garden/outdoor space is the most important feature of any property they may purchase going forward. The work from home/return to office debate remains unanswered, but it is noteworthy that purchasing somewhere close to work was the third most important factor for first time buyers, considerably higher that the desire for a home office. Finally, 64% of buyers think prices will rise in the next 12 months. When we surveyed home buyers this time last year, only 14% expected prices to rise and we now know prices surged.
We hope that these insights provide you with a better understanding of what local First Time Buyers and Home Movers are thinking and feeling. We are confident that it will inform estate agents, developers and property professionals’ decisions when it comes to recognising and connecting with their customers’ changing demands in 2021 and beyond.
Last modified: 12/08/2021