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Searches For Flats Soars In Cities

The UK’s cities are experiencing high demand for flats from property hunters that have outstripped the demand for houses seen in autumn, which experts have said is a sign that the pandemic-fuelled ‘race for space’ could be waning.

The Guardian reports that property prices in the UK hit record levels in 2021, particularly as remote and hybrid working options fuelled a buying boom outside of cities as people sought more space. However, with some people returning to offices, before the resurgence of the omicron variant, there has been renewed interest in flats and apartments.

Tim Bannister, the director of property data at the property portal Rightmove, said: “When the housing market reopened in May, there was an immediate rush for room from buyers to look farther afield from the capital.”

However, he continued, there has been higher demand in London properties over the last few months, and buyer levels are nearing pre-pandemic levels.

Bannister added that this return to pre-pandemic levels has happened faster than anticipated, and has likely been driven by businesses encouraging hybrid working options rather than fully remote working from home.

Rightmove said that flats had become the most in-demand property type among prospective buyers, supplanting the popularity of houses throughout the pandemic.

The property portals findings match the trends identified by Halifax, which revealed in November that flats were being sold for 10.8 per cent more than this time last year, while houses typically fetched 6.6 per cent more.

Despite the boost in popularity of flats, Rightmove said the longer-term trend towards bigger houses, in outer-city and rural or coastal locations, is here to stay.

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