‘Spending more time at home away from friends and family has led many of us to re-evaluate what’s important in life. From how we socialise and what we eat, through to where we work and how we relax – it’s understandable that people’s priorities have changed in light of recent experiences. It’s certainly made people think more about the space they live in, the attributes they most value in a home and in some cases, where they want to live.
‘In Guernsey, there is a real sense of appreciation for island life and what we have on our doorstep, as well as the community spirit. For some, the experience of working from home could lead to less off-island travel when normality resumes. The island has also been put on the map due to its acknowledged competent handling of the coronavirus pandemic.’
UK buyers are looking at the Guernsey property market
‘We are pleased to note that the post lockdown market has continued to show a marked week by week improvement, with levels of interest continuing to rise since late May. There was three times as much traffic to the Savills Guernsey website and three times as many enquiries in the last week of May, compared to the lowest week during lockdown, setting levels of interest back to pre-lockdown levels. Of particular interest is the fact that we also saw 78% more visits to the Savills Guernsey website from the UK in the first week of June, when compared to the weekly average in the first 10 weeks of 2020 (though it’s important to note this is from a relatively low base).’
Buyers are reconsidering their priorities
‘Versatile living space and access to the countryside and coast are becoming a prerequisite for those anticipating increased home working, particularly those with children. This was echoed in a survey carried out by Savills among 700 of our UK buyers and sellers during the lockdown, which indicates that moving intentions, budget, size of property and location have all been impacted.
‘According to our survey, almost half (49%) said they will be more inclined to work from home even after restrictions are lifted. As a consequence 44% of respondents said a separate work space has assumed greater importance, rising to 61% amongst the under 40s, with good access to Wi-Fi also becoming more valued. Some 39% of respondents under 50 stated an increased inclination to upsize, rising to 42% among the under 40s. The desire for a garden or outdoor space has also become a more pressing consideration for 71% of this age group.’
Older households are looking to downsize
‘At the other end of the property ladder, there appears to be a growing commitment to downsizing among wealthy older households, albeit this trend (20% of respondents) is less pronounced than the desire for more space amongst younger prospective home movers. Around four in 10 would now find a village location more appealing than previously, while 54% of those with school age children now find the idea of a countryside location more attractive than pre Covid-19.
‘Just under half of respondents to the survey did not expect the selling price of their existing home, nor the amount they would be willing to spend on a new property, to have changed as a result of Covid-19. The other half felt both would fall, the majority by up to 10%. However 20% of respondents felt that their budget to buy a new home might fall by more than this figure. Only 5% of respondents believe the value of their home could have risen.
‘This suggests there is likely to be some downward pressure on pricing in the short term. Reassuringly, the survey suggests that buyers and sellers broadly agree on how they believe the lockdown has impacted values, and this alignment should help underpin the recovery as we come out of lockdown and buyer caution begins to lift.
‘While it’s too early to know if the increase in interest and enquiries will translate into viewings and transactions, the signs are all positive for when the island opens up its borders to prospective new residents.’