Average property prices continued to fall across the country last month, with the property market more subdued than at any time since 2010, a report suggested today.
Nearly a third of estate agents and surveyors said they saw average prices drop in the last three months, marking the worst performance in ten years, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said.
England’s property market having been unlocked on 13 May, although with lockdown restrictions on the market still in place across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Queries from potential new buyers and sales outlooks across the UK look ‘slightly’ better than they did in April, Rics added.
More than 80 per cent of insiders working in the sector surveyed said they think buyer demand for a home with a garden or balcony will grow significantly over the next two years as a result of lockdown restrictions.
Price matters: A chart showing the impact of the pandemic on house prices so far
Green spaces in demand
Nearly three-quarters of property insiders surveyed think demand for a home near a green space like a park will rise over the next two years, while 68 per cent believe properties with more private space and fewer communal areas will be top priorities among potential buyers.
The desire to get outdoors during lockdown has triggered a drop in the number of buyers looking for a home in a block of flats, the Rics said.
Nearly 80 per cent of estate agents think buyer demand for a home in a tower block will fall over the next two years, while nearly 60 per cent believe properties in urban areas which are very built up will also become less desirable to prospective buyers.
The majority expect no change in the desirability of homes near transport hubs, such as train stations and bus stops.
In demand now: Over 80 per cent of insiders working in the sector surveyed said they think buyer demand for a home with a garden or balcony will grow
Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist at the Rics, said: ‘There are already signs that those looking to buy a house are responding to the conditions created by the pandemic by seeking out properties with gardens or balconies and nearer green space.
‘These and other similar features are likely to increasingly command a premium over higher density urban locations according to respondents to the survey.’
New normal for viewings
The property market may have been reopened in England last month, but it has been turned on its head.
In-person viewings are being carried out with social distancing measures in place, with some estate agents choosing to simply leave buyers to look round homes themselves while donning face masks.
Many estate agents have also been ramping up the number of online virtual property tours they carry out, even though it remains unclear how many will lead to cash on the table and a deal in the bag.
Rics’s survey for May found that a net balance of 5