The Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed many aspects of people’s lives and buyer behaviour is adapting accordingly. The pandemic has accelerated some trends already evident and is reshaping the Irish housing market in real time, according to a new survey on consumer attitudes to housing and the level of supply carried out by Sherry FitzGerald.
“While sustainable design and good architecture are prerequisites for the future of Irish housing, so is a dramatically increased supply. Irish housing, in the future, needs to be all about quality and quantity,” according to Michael Grehan, chairman of Sherry FitzGerald’s residential arm.
To better understand the current mindset of people looking to buy their own home, on June 11-12 last, Sherry FitzGerald conducted an online survey with over 10,000 registered potential buyers. The full online survey was completed by over 1,500 respondents.
The key findings of the Sherry FitzGerald survey were as follows:
l Buyer sentiment remains resilient with over 60% of respondents reporting that their commitment to purchase a property was unaffected by Covid-19.
l A further 20% of respondents said they were now even more committed to buying, whereas 18% said they were less committed to buying.
l In a post Covid-19 environment, access to reliable broadband was the top-ranking feature for purchasers, followed by more outdoor space and a good energy rating.
l Other important features were space for a home office and access to public parks.
l 62% of respondents were under 40 years of age and a high proportion of these were first-time buyers, 29%.
l 80% of respondents were seeking a house or apartment of less than €500,000 in value, which reflects the regional spread of the survey.
Demand from first time buyers is largely concentrated in the €200,000-400,000 price bracket, accounting for 76% of demand.
l Interestingly, 55% of respondents reported difficulty in securing a property in their preferred location, a reflection of the ongoing supply side shortage in the housing market.
l 67% of respondents had only begun actively looking for a property less than 6 months ago.
l Over 30% of respondents had only begun their search within the last 3 months.
In terms of supply, the latest analysis of stock available for sale reveals that there was a total of just 18,100 second hand properties available for sale in the first week of June 2020 which is a 22% decline of over 5,000 less properties available than there were in summer 2019.
Overall, this volume of properties for sale represented just 1% of the total private housing stock.
In County Kildare, the stock of available second hand properties has decreased from 746 in July 2019 to 506 in July 2020, a decrease of 32%. The national average decrease was 21.7%.