Flats and city centres see rise in demand post-lockdown

Flats and city centres see rise in demand post-lockdown
Credit: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Flats and city centres saw an increase in buyer demand after the country began a phased exit out of lockdown, according to Rightmove.

Analysis from the property website found that flats saw the biggest increase in buyer demand when compared to other types of properties.

The number of people contacting estate agents to request more details about a flat for sale on Rightmove rose by 39 per cent, in when comparing April and January.

In March England began a phased exit out of a third national lockdown that began in early January.

Rightmove added that the easing of coronavirus restrictions had increased the appeal of living in city centres, with buyer demand increasing by 76 per cent in York, 62 per cent in Norwich and 57 per cent in Sheffield.

In the capital, inner London saw buyer demand rise by 30 per cent in April when compared to January, while demand in outer London was up by 34 per cent.

Cory Askew, head of sales at London-based estate agent Chestertons, commented: “With lockdown restrictions continuing to ease and property prices in rural areas catching up, we are seeing increasing numbers of house hunters who are rethinking their move to the countryside and opt for one of London’s outer zones instead.”

Tim Bannister, housing expert at Rightmove, said: “These are early signs but they certainly point to some good news for city centres across Great Britain, with a number of agents now telling me they’ve seen a marked uptick in demand from first-time buyers, and they’re managing to sell city centre flats more quickly than in earlier months of the year.

“People starting to venture in to their local high streets and once again experiencing the buzz of their city centres, along with greater mortgage availability for first-time buyers, means city centres are staging a much-needed comeback in the market.

“Right now some buyers are able to grab a relative city bargain compared to the heady price growth outside cities, but these early signs of demand could be the start of city prices rising again, so for those home-hunters who have their sights set on a city centre flat now is the time to see what’s available.”

The latest UK House Price Index, published earlier this month (May 19), showed flats and maisonettes were the property type that saw the lowest year-on-year rise in March.

Average monthly price by property type

Property typeMarch 2021March 2020Difference
Flat or maisonette£214,365£204,1445.0%
Source: UK House Price Index

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