Pandemic is shifting the preferences of home buyers

24 November 2021 3 min. read

Global real estate consultancy Knight Frank has released the latest edition of its annual ‘Global Buyer Survey’, providing an in-depth view of how the coronavirus pandemic is driving a shift in attitudes amongst home buyers. A round-up of the report’s key findings.

Not surprisingly, the pandemic is prompting many home buyers to move away from crowded city streets to more rural and country side locations. Those that can afford a move into a larger house (for example a villa) or more keen on the move compared to their pre-pandemic views.

“The pandemic has fuelled aspirations for bigger homes, both in the Middle East and in other parts of the world,” said Faisal Durrani, a partner at Knight Frank and Head of Middle East Research.

How has the pandemic influenced the type of property you would want to live in, in the future

Taking Dubai as an example, Durrani said: “We’re already seeing villa demand driving faster price growth for villas than apartments.” Indeed, an August analysis by Knight Frank found that villa values in Dubai have climbed by nearly double digits since the start of the year, compared to a significant fall for apartments. “So despite the financial reality, buyers are still eyeing up bigger and more expensive homes for their next home.”

Where to go?

Of the eight different location criteria Knight Frank asked buyers to rank in terms of importance for their next home, proximity to good schools and access to healthcare were unsurprisingly important; however, proximity to green space and good air quality topped the list of location features and are more important to home buyers in the Middle East than their global counterparts.

How important will the following factors be for you when choosing where to live once restrictions end?

The same is true for green within a home. Half of the respondents in the Middle East for instance cited the energy efficiency of their next home being a “very important” issue, compared to 42% of global buyers. Globally, 27% of buyers would be willing to pay a premium for a greener, more energy efficient home

“Green is definitely the new black, and in the Middle East, buyers are increasingly focused on sustainability. This should send a very strong signal to developers and planners around the region about how important ‘being greener’ will be in driving the success of new projects,” said Durrani.

Further reading: Businesses are upping sustainability expectations of landlords.

Second home?

Meanwhile, around a third of all buyers surveyed said that they are now more likely to purchase a second home (as a safe haven from the pandemic if restrictions do return) or holiday home, up from 26% last year.

Has the pandemic made you more or less likely to purchase a second home?

Of those looking to buy a second home, 23% say the pandemic has influenced where they want to buy and 22% say it has delayed their purchase plans.

Concluding, Durrani commented: “The pandemic has induced buyers to reassess their buyer preferences and this is driving some fascinating changes in home buyers’ attitudes.”

The Global Buyer Survey was conducted among over 900 Knight Frank clients across 40+ major countries.