A new report has revealed that the pandemic has changed prospective home buyers’ property wish list. We learn more…

The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way we live, work and play – but it is also causing a huge shift in what appears on buyers’ property wish lists.

As the retail world begins to claw its way back from a year of disruption, a new report has revealed the changing behaviours of property hunting retirees since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The study has found that since the first lockdown in March 2020, there has been a significant shift in buyer demands across the UK – with those over 50 revaluating their home buying wants and needs.

After questioning 1,000 of the UK’s over 50s, RoyaleLife, the leading UK bungalow provider for the over 45s, discovered that the pandemic has refocused people’s attention more inwardly.

‘The plight of the property industry has been well documented, with the market seeing a number of changes including a temporary halt to the majority of housing activity in the first lockdown,’ said Tim Simmons, business development director at RoyaleLife.

‘However, with lockdown restrictions easing – and the property industry making a return to normal, it is the customer themselves that are experiencing a more permanent change.’

Tim said: ‘The first big, reported change that we have seen is the financial future of those aged 51-60 was put into perspective, with more than half of those questioned prioritising the need to downsize to a smaller, low-maintenance property post-pandemic.

‘Furthermore, there were nearly two-thirds of those questioned who say that freeing up cash would be a priority. With the two going hand in hand, it is clear to see that those on the brink of retirement are thinking more carefully about the stability of their financial future.’

But it isn’t just finances that are causing a shift in buyer demands. The results also suggest that more people are swapping city life to a more rural location with those aged between 51 and 70 seeking locations that offer more outside space – whether it is a garden, communal area or recreation grounds.

‘Out of the 12 regions we surveyed, half stated that moving somewhere less built-up was the biggest priority post-pandemic,” said Tim. “Furthermore, a third of these were from the south east – which reflects recent reports that the capital’s population could decline in 2021 as buyers consider a move to the country.’

In fact, the number of people leaving cities has reached a four-year high. With buyers leaving the bustling life of the city and spending more time at home – be it for work or leisure – many home hunters are understandably putting accessibility to local amenities like shops, public transport and health services at the top of their lists.

Tim added: ‘Whether the trend is here to stay, it’s safe to say there’s never been a more appealing time than now, post-pandemic, for those seeking to move from clustered city dwellings to safer, greener and open spaces, especially if it means releasing capital along the way to enjoy a better life to the full.’

For more information on RoyaleLife, please visit www.royalelife.com or call 01945 223 855.