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Knight Frank buyer survey shows cities could be all the rage again

The global pandemic-induced tree change trend could be coming to a halt a new survey reveals.

Knight Frank has released its Global Buyer Survey of 900 clients across 49 markets, analysing the impact COVID-19 has had on residential buyers’ attitudes to purchasing homes around the world.

Globally, 19 per cent of respondents have moved house since the start of the pandemic. This rises to 25 per cent in Australasia and North America.

Respondents said their biggest drivers for moving included more outdoor space (22 per cent) and more indoor space (19 per cent).

Out of the respondents who hadn’t moved, a further 20 per cent were considering moving in 2021, as the pandemic continues.

Surprisingly, out of those respondents who are more inclined to move in the next 12 months, 38 per cent of them are looking at city locations, showing that metro regions may be coming back into favour.

In comparison, 33 per cent preferred suburbs.

Detached houses, waterfront residences or villas are still in strong demand with 46 per cent of respondents seeking these property types.

Country estates were also in demand, with 34 per cent of respondents inclined to look at this property type.

However, demand for apartments have shot up by 19 per cent to 31 per cent, up from just 12 per cent in 2020.

Knight Frank suggested these changes reflect an increase in demand for larger, more spacious apartments and pied-à-terre in city centres.

Interest in ski homes has increased from 11 per cent in 2020 to 18 per cent in 2021, with demand from North American and Asian buyers above the global average.

Energy efficiency in a future home was important to 84 per cent of respondents.

Of these respondents, 28 per cent said they would be more likely to buy an energy efficient home if future environmental regulations were to have a direct impact on its value.

About 27 per cent would be willing to pay a premium for greener, more energy efficient homes.

Knight Frank Head of International Residential Research Kate Everett-Allen said more home owners were expecting their property to rise in value.

“Over two-thirds of people expect the value of their current home to increase in the next year with most expecting a rise of between one per cent and nine per cent over the 12-month period,” Ms Everett-Allen said.

Source: Knight Frank Research

This coincides with Knight Frank’s Prime Global Forecast, which highlights that global house prices are, on average likely to increase by four per cent in 2021.

”Further findings from the report reveal that the pandemic has sparked a wave of second home demand,” Ms Everett-Allen said.

“Some 33 per cent of buyers say they are more likely to purchase a second home as a result of COVID-19, up from 26 per cent last year.

“Of those looking to buy a second home, 23 per cent say the pandemic has influenced where they want to buy and 22 per cent say it has delayed their purchase plans.”

Knight Frank Head of International Residential Sales Mark Harvey went on to explain that the prime buyers in Europe and the US will find a markedly different landscape now to 2020.

“Stock is lower, vendors are less willing to negotiate on price and, after several months of tight travel restrictions, overseas demand is strengthening,” Mr Harvey said.

“Some buyers are willing to take a more watchful approach and wait until the final quarter of the year when they hope vendors will be less intransigent on price. Others are keen to act quickly where they can see compelling value before prices shift higher.

“Two trends stand out in the last few months. Firstly, a growing ambivalence in some buyers when it comes to location, provided they can secure a co-primary home that delivers the lifestyle and enjoyment they feel they’ve missed out on.

“And, secondly given low savings rates and frothy stock markets, buyers are taking a more defensive stance by rebalancing their portfolios with a greater focus on tangible assets such as property.”

Looking to branded residences, one in three buyers (39 per cent) would be willing to pay a premium for a branded residence according to the survey, a figure that rises to 45 per cent and 43 per cent in Australasia and Asia respectively.

Top amongst the key motives for purchasing a branded residence is the service provision and amenities such a development affords.

Second comes the development’s high-yielding potential and in third place, the building’s management and maintenance proved an appealing prospect.

Finally, the report sheds light on the pandemic-induced surge in property purchases by expatriates looking to acquire a base back home.

The survey results confirm that the US, Singapore, Hong Kong SAR, the UK and the Philippines were the key locations expatriate respondents were based prior to the pandemic.

For those that returned home, a desire to be closer to family (36 per cent) was the biggest motivating factor, followed by an improved quality of life (24 per cent) and a change in employment circumstances (16 per cent).

Source: Knight Frank Research

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