WITH sales offices and show homes now reopen to the public, leading housebuilder Barratt Homes has noticed prospective buyers in Cheshire have a new set of priorities compared to before lockdown.

The developer, who are currently building new homes at Dane View and Imperial Park II in Northwich, have introduced appointment-only viewings, which has led them to have a better understanding of the changing home-buying wish list adopted during quarantine.

This is mirrored by new research published recently by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in their 2020 UK Residential Market Survey.

Michaela Lancaster, Sales Director at Barratt Homes Manchester, said: "We’ve been spending even more time understanding the changing requirements of our buyers.

"More time than usual at home has forced people to think about whether or not it is suitable for the long term.

"The future is still uncertain, so buyers want to make sure their home is the ideal environment should we face another lockdown in future.

Barratt Homes has highlighted four of the most common needs of today’s homebuyer:

Gardens and balcony space

When lockdown began in March, no-one could have anticipated that it was going to continue into the summer.

As the weather improved, people were itching to get outside and see the sunshine, reflected by an overwhelming 81% of survey respondents who felt there would be an increasing demand for more garden and balcony space.

Michaela added: "We’ve noticed that the need for an outdoor space has become a top priority for buyers.

"Growing families are requiring more space for their children to burn off extra energy, and those opting for apartment-living are desperate for balcony space to get some fresh air whilst staying at home."

Private over communal

Buyers are continuing to adapt to social distancing, and whilst they are keen to have more outdoor space, 68% of respondents felt that homes with more private space would be increasingly popular over those with communal gardens.

Michaela said: "It’s become clear that private space is in higher demand due to the need to social distance."

Greenery is important

Buyers have made it very clear that outdoor space beyond the home is also essential.

Once restrictions began to ease, the public flocked to local parks and nature reserves to take in sights outside of their home.

74% of respondents felt there would be an increase in demand for local green spaces for future buyers.

"Buyers are becoming increasingly focused on the local area, and what leisure amenities are available in the immediate vicinity," Michaela explained.

A dedicated workspace

With a large percentage of the country working from home, buyers have had to adapt their homes to accommodate the need for a proper workspace.

Prospective buyers are on the hunt for homes with more space, particularly extra bedrooms to allow for flexible living.

Michaela said: "Buyers have expressed the need for extra rooms due to working and schooling from home.

"It’s been really important for us to properly gauge our buyers’ circumstances to match them with a property that will suit their long-term needs and can be adapted when these circumstances change."