Gardens, broadband and home offices priorities as demand for house sales surges

Gardens, broadband and home offices priorities as demand for house sales surges
Broadband reliability and potential for home office space are among the top questions estate agents have received in recent weeks.

There has been an unexpected surge in the demand for house sales in the weeks since estate agents returned to work following lockdown.

According to the Real Estate Alliance (REA), Covid-19 has had an immediate effect on what buyers are looking for in a home.

It seems as though working from home will become much more common in a post-Covid world and so the needs of buyers has changed.

Broadband reliability and potential for home office space are among the top questions estate agents have received in recent weeks.

Lockdown has placed greater importance on the need for a garden as many people found it difficult to be without a private outdoor space while they had to remain at home.

REA agents as far afield as Killarney have reported interest in larger properties from Dublin-based viewers.

A nationwide trend has emerged of buyers looking to move 15 minutes outside of their urban location where they can get more space for the same price.

Fears of a downturn in the housing market during the Covid-19 crisis have not been realised.

REA spokesperson Barry McDonald said that sales slowed during lockdown but they did still happen and very few sales fell through or had to be renegotiated.

While the current outlook is positive but the full effect of the pandemic on the market and the outcome of mortgage approvals granted before lockdown may not be seen until Q3.

Mr McDonald said that there seems to be a lot of pent-up demand as the country reopens.

“The numbers of enquiries are growing steadily with people reacting well to the new rules around individual viewings, carried out in a socially distanced manner.

“Time taken to sell, unsurprisingly, increased from nine to ten weeks in Q2, with viewing and marketing processes slowed down.

“The Central Bank’s mortgage lending restrictions has been key to maintaining a sense of calmness in what has been a robust market over the past few years.” Mr McDonald said that buyers are now looking for three things: more space, gardens and a guarantee of better broadband.

"Transport was previously the highest priority.

Broadband is now becoming a key selling point with agents looking to promote available wi-fi speeds on sale brochures.

"Previous surveys had noted an increase in people looking to work from a home for a number of days a week from outer suburban counties, but the experience of working full-time out of the office has changed housing demand into a nationwide search.

“Enquiries around semi-detached properties have become more work-focused with attic conversions, potential home offices and the ability to install garden rooms suddenly high on people’s agendas."

According to the Q2 REA Average House Price Index, the price of a three-bedroomed semi-detached house across the country fell by just -0.15% over the past three months to €234,667, an annual decline of -0.56%.

Prices in the commuter counties fell slightly by -0.25% in the past three months, with the average house now selling at €246,944.

According to the REA, in towns where a fall was reported agents cited a lack of suitable supply.

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