Lockdown has made 80% of first-time buyers rethink where they live

Matthew Miller
Authored by Matthew Miller
Posted: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 - 10:38

Over the past year, the UK has seen a shift in cultural perceptions at work, interacting within the neighbourhood community and even family relationships. According to a recent poll conducted by Estate Agents Douglas & Gordon, the lockdown has impacted the first-time buyers the most, with 80% of under 40s unhappy about they live due to them being far away from loved ones.

Whether for work, independence, or avoiding unannounced visits, living close to family has not always been the top priority for first-time buyers, who often pick different areas to their parents when deciding where to buy.

In fact, a 2020 survey by Zoopla showed over three quarters of first-time buyers do not buy in the same area as their parents. Almost half moved more than 20 miles away from their parents’ home.

This correlates with the recent findings on how just 35% of those surveyed in the poll have family living nearby, with 65% saying theirs live either miles away or in other towns or counties.

This ties in with the fact that most first-time buyers in the UK are between 32 and 35 years-old according to Statista. It can make financial sense for many young families to live near parents and grandparents for things like childcare or pet sitting, but also for wellbeing reasons. 

Due to the pandemic, over half of Brits (60%) admit they have not seen their families in six months or longer due to lockdown. Significantly, the majority say they would be willing to move to a new home right now if it meant living closer to loved ones.

In a UK mental health survey, a quarter of the population (25%) said they felt lonely during lockdown, and that seeing family freely could help.

Lockdown has already increased property searches as more people search for home office space or bigger gardens. Now we know more people are also considering a move to be closer to the people they love. In the UK, searches for ‘houses for sale’ have skyrocketed by almost 40% in the last month, with nearly 100,000 new people Googling new places to live.

Commenting on the research, Brian Smith, Chief Operating Officer at Douglas & Gordon said,

“The last year had a huge impact on how we think about our homes and factors like space, gardens and outdoor access. Our latest survey also shows how important proximity to loved ones has become. Having passed one year of COVID-19 restrictions, we’re all counting down the days to be reunited with family and friends. This time apart could see new trends emerge around how people prioritise property location in the future.”