Traditionally first-time buyers are young, excited applicants generally in their late 20’s or early 30’s, eager to buy their first property and get on the property ladder. Often, they will have already lived around the area they are buying in for several years often since graduating and therefore know the area and are keen to stay close to the restaurants, bars, and shops.
The type of property they will normally buy can range from a small studio in the centre of their search area or a one or two bedroom flat often on one of the upper floors of a building. Location is normally vital to their search, being close to the Underground and night life will normally top their criteria, they are less likely to go for more space on the edge of their search area. While always a plus outside space was normally not high on the criteria.
Since the original lockdown ended in June and people have been spending much more time in their properties, both working and living we have seen a big shift in what is important to them.
The majority of first-time buyers now registering will be slightly more flexible on location, rather than a five- minute walk to the underground they will happily consider fifteen minutes, or even a bus link. Now however they want space. A large open plan living area is important so that they can work from home and most importantly most want a garden or at least a large balcony.
This has made it difficult for many selling around Clapham, in an area where there are more flats than houses and the majority of these do not have outside space, or at the most have a a small balcony. We are now seeing properties with no outside space struggling to get the interest they would normally expect and owners having to drop their prices in order to generate more interest. Owners of studio flats in popular roads near to the Common, previously in high demand are now struggling, as buyers do not want to be living in small spaces after lockdown.
On the other hand, there is a huge demand for properties with outside space and most of these are being snapped up within days of going on the market. Applicants criteria is regularly changing however this is the most noticeable shift by first time buyers around South West London for some time.
We expect once the pandemic is brought under control and people are free to move around like in years gone by, location will increase on peoples criteria however for now first time buyers have changed from LOCATION LOCATION to wanting a feeling of space where they live and somewhere they can step outside at the end of the day.