In Zoopla’s State of the Property Nation which surveyed 6,000 potential buyers and sellers, 28 per cent said moving to a bigger home was the main reason for a purchasing a new property this year. For younger families this was particularly important. Just less than 40 per cent said they were moving for more space. Families whose children no longer live at home were motivated to sell up so they could change location. Some 36 per cent cited this as their reason to move. In some cases this was to move closer to family.
Finding a property in the right price range and location continued to give buyers a headache but there has been a five per cent fall in the number of house-hunters who were held back by these challenges in the last 12 months.
Affordability, however, continues to be a challenge for first-time buyers. Half of the first-time buyers surveyed said saving for a deposit was the biggest obstacle to homeownership while 43 per cent said securing a mortgage was their biggest hurdle.
Despite this, first-time purchasers are the largest group of buyers in the market.
While buyers are feeling less restricted in their property searches, homeowners and investors are still wary of the ongoing economic uncertainty. Some 36 per cent said this was a concern, and just over 30 per cent said they were concerned they would not achieve their asking price.
Andy Marshall, chief commercial officer, Zoopla, said: “With the property market, it’s easy to focus on the hard data like the number of sales, but it’s also important to scratch under the surface to understand what is motivating people to make a move.
“We are seeing a polarisation of the market. Confidence is slowly returning among buyers, but this is moderated by a feeling of caution among sellers, with ongoing economic uncertainty causing them to doubt whether they will achieve the asking price they believe their property is worth. This offers a great opportunity for agents to realign sellers’ expectations whilst also educating them on the resurgence the market has seen in the first month of the year.”
There has been a slight increase in the number of people actively looking to buy, sell or rent a property, rather than just browsing. These motivated property seekers are more serious about moving than ever before with nearly a third stating they are likely to act on this in the next year.