According to the data from Rightmove, the number of buyers who are looking to purchase an apartment in 2022 has sky-rocketed. In a surprising turn of events, Sittingbourne letting agents claim that the demand for apartments in cities in the UK outstripped the demand for houses in autumn. In 2021, the UK witnessed a sharp rise in the average price of property, with almost one-third of houses in the UK and Wales selling for over the asking price. Now, cities in the United Kingdom are attracting more property hunters as the search for flats increases in 2022; this is what the experts have to say.
There are two main reasons for the sudden spike in apartment buyers. First, as the average price of property has risen significantly in the last year, apartments are more affordable than houses, especially for first-time buyers and low-income buyers. Also, as the concept of work from home is coming to an end, many professionals and employees are making the move back to the city centre, where apartments are more convenient and certainly cheaper.
Consistent rise in the average price of property
Up until February 2020, two-bedroom apartments were the most sought after properties in the UK. As of February 2021, two-bedroom houses are the most sought after properties in the UK housing market. What changed? Covid-19 is what caused the change in buyer demand. In 2021, the average price of property in the UK increased by 9.8 per cent, which is supposed to be the fastest growth pace since 2004. In fact, the average price of property in the UK hit a record high of £276,091, which is essentially a whopping £24,000 rise in price in one year. With the introduction of the stamp duty holiday and the mortgage guarantee scheme, potential buyers rushed to purchase the house of their dreams.
As the average price of homes in the UK started to rise, first-time buyers and low-income buyers were the victims at the receiving end. As the average price of property in the UK hit a record high 8 times in 2021, low-income buyers and first-time buyers were unable to save enough to even put down a deposit. As the demand for spacious houses grew and the supply remained rather constant, the average price of property continued to rise. In order to finally climb onto the property ladder, many first-time buyers decided to invest in apartments instead of houses, as apartments were relatively cheaper and certainly more affordable. As more and more potential buyers entered the housing market in 2022, they found that it was cheaper to buy an apartment in the current market conditions, which is what led to the hunt for flats in cities in the UK.
Change in buyer demands and the concept of work from home
In 2021, the ‘race for space’ was one of the biggest contributing factors to the steady rise in property prices. As people started working from home, they no longer had to worry about commuting to work or living near their place of work. With the new concept of work from home, employees and professionals chose to shift to the boroughs and suburbs in order to move into bigger and better homes. As work from home became the norm, the buyer preference started to change. Homeowners and potential buyers were now looking to move into spacious homes, which were relatively more affordable in the outskirts as opposed to the city centre. Also, these homes in the boroughs and suburbs were bigger, and often had outdoor spaces such as private patios, balconies and gardens, all of which were top properties among buyers, at the time. Additionally, potential buyers were also looking to purchase homes with additional rooms or garage space, as they could convert that extra space into a home office.
As the vaccine rolled out, companies started asking employees to come back to work and the possibility of another lockdown became dim, the concept of work from home started waning. Companies were calling their employees back to the office, be it for a few hours or a few days a week. With that, the number of people who started looking for apartments in the city centre started increasing again. As more people started working from the office, the commute from the suburbs and the boroughs became too long, hence the shift back to the city. As offices start to open up again, the demand for city-centre homes and apartments will continue to rise, as per the experts.