A survey of 2,000 prospective movers by Zoopla shows the vast majority still intent on buying – but younger purchasers’ plans have been hit by mortgage changes.
The portal says some 86 per cent those planning to move prior to the Coronavirus crisis intend to proceed with their plans in the next 12 months.
Of those who have delayed their search, around a third cite concerns around a downturn in house prices as a result of the impact of Coronavirus, with another third concerned at the pandemic’s impact on the wider economy, and most of the rest worried over their own household income being hit.
However the demographic showing a more worrying profile is that of the under-35s – a third of them say their plans have been delayed or worse, with many blaming difficulties saving for a deposit and the recent decisions by lenders to withdraw or limit the availability of high loan-to-value mortgages.
The availability of 90 per cent LTV mortgages plummeted from 386 in January to just 14 last week, Zoopla says.
This survey is also the latest to show a shift in priorities amongst home hunters as a result of the pandemic. Some 44 per cent of those whose criteria have changed are now looking to move closer to the countryside, parks or the coast.
Under 35s have recorded the biggest change in priorities, with one in five saying they’re more likely to prioritise private outdoor space over an additional bedroom, or expand their location search if it means being able to afford a garden.
A dedicated home office area, being closer to family and friends, and the ability to exercise at home, all ranked highly in the list of priorities of the 2,000 respondents.
Proximity to amenities such as pubs and shops have been relegated with just 13 per cent of respondents citing them as a neighbourhood must-have.
Work-life balance is key for many, with 85 per cent of respondents expecting to work the same hours or less in the coming months: 42 per cent expect to work from home more often, which explains why, when it comes to those under the retirement age, over half of respondents expect to commute less.
This shift in lifestyle has had implications for property searches, suggests the portal.
Just over one in five respondents say having a home-working area has become more of a priority, which increases to just over a third of those in the 35 to 49 age bracket.
Other shifts in lifestyle include 30 per cent of respondents saying they are doing more DIY, 43 per cent doing more gardening, and 35 per cent planning to take more holidays in the UK.