How did the pandemic affect UK housing preferences?

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a time of great change and disruption in practically all areas of society, and we would expect that to be reflected in the UK housing market. Normally, times of economic difficulty and recession lead to a fall in house prices, but the figures for 2020 and 2021 show the opposite, which raises questions about how exactly people’s attitudes to buying and selling houses have changed.

Image Credit

Differences are regional

Conventional wisdom states that it is London and the surrounding area that offers the most desirable and, therefore, most expensive properties. In recent years, however, since before the pandemic began, regions outside of the Southwest have seen their prices increase far more rapidly than those around London. In the pandemic, this rapid growth outside of London increased still further.

Houses or flats?

It seems that houses are currently more popular than flats. This is another trend that began before the pandemic but has been magnified since. This seems to be part of a “race for space” where people want more room inside, more outdoor space and other features associated with houses, particularly those outside of crowded centres of cities. This could have contributed to the drive away from densely packed London. Not only do buyers pay the homebuyers survey cost, as explained at, but they also seem prepared to pay more for the house itself and any features, even if work needs to be done.

Working from home

One obvious change in society during the pandemic was the rise in working from home. Having to spend more time in the house seems to have affected people’s attitudes to where they live. If you are spending more time at home, then you probably want it to be more comfortable and to have a designated work space separated from the living space. Sometimes you just need to be able to walk into another room, or the garden, for a breather, which is hard if life is confined to one room.

Supply and demand

There were several factors that affected supply and demand during the pandemic. In the beginning, construction work was paused, causing a reduction in supply that was admittedly only temporary. Government and financial policy, however, worked hard to ensure demand remained high through measures such as the reduction in stamp duty rates. For some households, there was also likely an increase in savings (which could be spent on property) due to reduced recreational spending, although this largely applied to wealthier buyers.

Image Credit

Now that many of the societal restrictions forced by the pandemic appear to be easing, it will be interesting to see if the changes in the housing market that it brought about were just temporary reactions or developments with a lasting impact. For example, is home working, or at least hybrid working, here to stay? Some aspects of the market will possibly return to normal, or at least the rate of change will slow, but others may continue to exhibit an impact.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *