The home features that estate agents list most often are changing, according to data from the property site Rightmove. Significant events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and remote working are driving the changes, analysts believe.
Before the pandemic, estate agents would list the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and reception areas and information regarding access. However, in 2022, they are promoting features that make working at home easier.
Rightmove’s data, for instance, show that garden office mentions have increased more than 589 per cent compared with ten years ago. Mentions of underfloor heating and orangeries (garden rooms) are also on the rise considerably versus pre-pandemic levels. Workers want spaces where they can separate themselves from the rest of the family while enjoying plenty of natural light and heat, figures reveal.
Because of this, summer house popularity is growing rapidly. Remote workers want areas on their property that provide both shelter and access to daylight all day long. Estate agents, cognisant of limited outdoor square footage, are promoting them furiously.
Interestingly, though, working from home isn’t the only cultural change estate agents are responding to. Buyers in 2022 are also interested in home features that minimise their impact on the environment.
For instance, Rightmove’s survey found a dramatic rise in estate agents advertising homes’ electric vehicle charging points. Buyers want properties with the ability to charge EVs, even if they don’t currently own one. For many, the mere prospect of making greener choices is sufficient to pay a premium on house prices.
The desire for eco-waste bins is another symptom of this phenomenon. Homeowners want properties that let them better sort and organise their rubbish.
Related to this, solar panels are in high demand. In 2021, buyers wanted these to make their homes more eco-friendly. In 2022, they are installing them in an effort to reduce their bills. Homes with larger systems tend to attract higher premiums, and those with battery integration are even more popular.
Buyers are also becoming more interested in bi-fold doors. These are excellent at retaining heat while also providing panoramic garden views.
While the above features are becoming more important, others are becoming less so. For instance, the rising popularity of open-plan living is leading to a decline in demand for separate dining rooms. Buyers are happier than ever for these to be part of cooking and living spaces. The need for a separate space is on the decline.
Fitted wardrobes are also seeing their popularity as property-selling features wane. The decline of fast fashion may be a leading driver of this.
Estate agents will be watching closely to see whether demand for these home features remains elevated long-term. Tastes could revert to the pre-pandemic norm, or they could become entrenched for much of the 2020s and potentially into the 2030s. 2023’s figure will provide vital insights that may answer this question.