Lockdown increases demand for homes with gardens, study shows

Searches for homes with gardens have doubled since last year as prospective house buyers place more importance on outdoor space following lockdown, property experts have said.

Homes with south-facing gardens were most in demand – selling more quickly in almost all regions of England, Scotland and Wales, a survey by property website Rightmove found.

The study revealed that homes advertised with south-facing outdoor areas sold two days faster and were priced at nearly £23,000 more than those without.

Property experts at Rightmove said data showed that searches on the website for homes with a garden had increased by more than 100% in June compared to June 2019 – with total buyer searches up 56% for the same period.

And a survey conducted by the company in May found that having a bigger garden, or at least access to one, was the top requirement for house buyers that had changed as a result of lockdown.

Miles Shipside, of Rightmove, said: “Since the market reopened, we’ve seen a huge rise in demand for homes with a garden as buyers place greater importance on outdoor space.

“For as long as I can remember, south-facing gardens have been viewed as the creme de la creme of outdoor spaces among home hunters.”

Marc von Grundherr, director at Benham and Reeves estate agents in London, added: “We’ve seen from our own research that eight out of 10 buyers want some form of outside space and homes with a south-facing garden are absolutely much more popular.

“Having a garden has always been the icing on the cake for buyers but, now, a south-facing garden is the cherry on top of the icing – it’s that extra driver when deciding if you really want a property.”

Rightmove’s study looked at nearly 400,000 listings of three and four-bedroom homes between July 2019 and June 2020 and found that homes with south-facing gardens had a national average asking price of £369,365, compared to £346,670 for those without – an asking-price premium of 7%.

And in eight out of 11 regions, properties with south-facing outdoor areas sold more quickly than those without – with only the South East, London and the North West showing no difference in selling times.

The appeal of a south-facing garden was greatest in Yorkshire and the Humber, where homes with this asset sold eight days faster than those without and commanded an asking-price premium of 14% – at an average of £288,681 compared to £253,053.

David Phillip, partner of David Phillip Estate Agents in north Leeds, said: “Without a doubt, we’ve seen huge demand for homes with a south-facing garden.

“You’d be amazed at how many people turn up to a viewing and use the compass on their phone to work out where the sun is coming from, it’s a really important requirement in these parts.

“These properties are selling quickly, especially since the market reopened in May.”

Glynis Frew, chief executive of Hunters estate agents, added: “South-facing gardens have always been desirable due to getting the most hours of sunlight in a day.

“With people spending more time at home now due to lockdown and the rise of flexible home working, it’s little surprise that a south-facing garden is more sought-after to make the most of this.

“Green space and natural light have proven positive impacts on our mood and productivity.”

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