It’s no secret that the British are traditionalists and are not accustomed to change. We’re very much consistent in the fact we love cups of tea, Wetherspoons, rainy Summer’s, barbecues on the one day of summer we do get, failing at sport (particularly football) and of course, our property market.
If one thing is certain, it is that Britain is a nation that is obsessed with its property market. The sector has experienced a sustained period of difficult of late, stretching back to the days of the credit crunch. The market began to falter in 2007’s months of economic failings with political instability worsening the market. The revelation of Brexit last year also failed to do little to help stabilise the market, as did Theresa May’s backtrack to call a snap election, alongside the outcome of a hung parliament.
But what’s the market saying now? And what are buyers looking for? It’s well known that the likes of a sizeable garden, close proximity to good supermarkets, a reputable school catchment area, on street parking, friendly neighbours and low crime rate are often high on the agenda, but what about the actual property itself? Well, it has been revealed that many British buyers would prefer a traditional home as opposed to a new build. More and more new homes are propping up in the UK, though research has suggested that many buyers would rather older, traditional properties, even if they are in need of renovation.
Home movers and buyers feel that newly built homes all end up looking remarkably similar, thus lacking character. In addition to this, many feel that they are often poorly built. Research also found that 81% feel unenthusiastic about the prospect of living in a new house whilst 79% feel that the government ought to focus more on the refurbishment of run down properties in order to meet housing demand. Furthermore, 60% feel that there are too many poorly built, unattractive new builds whilst 41% feel that new builds lack character and can often be eyesores. It emerged that 23% would only consider buying a new home if they were going to rent it out as a buy to let investment, not willing to live in one themselves.
The Government has certainly prioritised new build construction within its housing policy as they look to meet an urgent demand for new homes, aiming to build at least 1.5 million new properties in the next five years. That said, research suggests that some 1.4 million properties in the UK currently sit uninhabited, a 20 year high.
Such figures transmit a strong message to the government and property chiefs. There is a definite need for a greater supply of housing, however, the public favour refurbished traditional properties over new builds and this is an issue that needs addressing. The current housing strategy is heavily predicated on new builds, causing great frustration to buyers across the market. More must be done to support property buyers in the shape of encouraging refurbishment projects to satisfy widespread demand.