Post lockdown return to school boosts the property market with family homes in high demand

Demand for family homes in London has increased most for two and three bed houses in Harrow (94%), Bexley (82%) and Merton (63%) ..

Zoopla, the UK’s most comprehensive property destination, has revealed that buyer demand has increased by 25% in the two months since schools reopened in March compared to the previous 2 months. The increase in demand was amplified by the announcement of the extension of the stamp duty holiday to the end of September and the rapid progress of the vaccine roll-out. 

Value for money driving demand for two and three beds

Two and three bed homes, perfect for families, remain in strong demand across Great Britain with the seaside resort of Scarborough seeing a 142% increase in demand for these homes, the biggest of any area. Although property prices for two and three beds in Scarborough are above the regional average, home hunters can get more bang for their buck with Zoopla data showing that, on average, houses in this area are more spacious than those in other parts of Yorkshire.  

Looking further afield, a clear trend emerges with overall demand running highest in areas with house prices that are below the regional average. Picturesque Weymouth and Portland, located at the southern tip of the Jurassic Coast, has seen demand for two and three bed homes skyrocket by 115% since the reopening of schools.  Average prices in this area for this property type stand at £235,000, 15% below the regional average in the South West.

It’s a similar case in Forest Heath, Suffolk where demand has increased by 111%, and Falkirk in Scotland (108%), the latter of which is consistently one of the fastest moving property markets in Great Britain. All these areas offer great value for money, with prices well below the regional average. 

The search for space continues

Moving on to four and five bed properties, commuters’ favourite Cambridge tops the list with a huge increase in demand of 182%. With its easy access to London and wide range of Ofsted rated Outstanding schools, it’s easy to see why the demand for family homes has been boosted by the return to school. 

Most locations that have seen the largest increase in demand for four and five-bed homes are located in rural or coastal areas, with scenic areas in the South East including Hastings (92%), Horsham (79%) and Surrey Heath (79%) featuring strongly. 

In the South West, Stroud and Teignbridge feature in the top ten, with an increase in demand of 80% and 76% respectively. Stroud is located near The Cotswolds and was recently named as one of the best places to live in the UK due to the quality of its schools and green spaces. Meanwhile, Teignbridge encompasses a wide range of pretty towns and villages, part of the Dartmoor National Park and coastline. 

Other rural areas that feature in the list include Wyre Forest and Stratford on Avon in the West Midlands, well known for being the birthplace of Shakespeare. Both areas have seen an increase in demand for four and bed homes of 81% and 73% respectively.

Increased demand London

There’s also been an increase in demand for family homes in London. Demand has increased most for two and three bed houses in Harrow (94%), Bexley (82%) and Merton (63%). These are all boroughs that have become particularly popular amongst families seeking houses in the capital for more affordable prices during recent years. The largest growth in demand for four and five bed homes is in leafy Sutton (57%) and Richmond upon Thames (50%), followed by Kensington and Chelsea (50%).  

Gráinne Gilmore, Head of Research at Zoopla comments: “The reopening of schools in early March was a key moment for the residential property market, alongside the extension of the stamp duty holiday, with buyer demand rising by some 25% in March and April compared to the first two months of the year.  The data signals that in more affordable areas buyer interest is rising for 2 and 3-bed houses. On the other hand, buyer demand is rising at the highest rates for 4 and 5-bed houses in the areas where these homes are typically larger than the average signalling that a need for additional space is a factor driving interest in this segment of the market”

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