Revealed – the most wanted market trends of the…

Amid the stamp duty rush, searches on behalf of first-time buyers are up 64% from 2021.

The tax exemption, combined with the accidental savings accumulated by some during the various UK lockdowns, has generated considerable interest in the market among first-time buyers.

According to the SmartrCriteria tool, “first-time buyers” were the third most searched criterion in 2020; a trend that continued the following year, when the term ranked fourth.

The tax relief has also attracted interest from overseas buyers, with searches for visa borrowers dominating as the most searched criteria in 2020 and 2021.

Strong increase in staycation searches

Two summers of overseas holiday restrictions created substantial demand for staycation properties as many opted to holiday in the UK rather than travel overseas.

Legal & General’s SmartrCriteria data shows “vacation rentals” was the third most searched term among advisors in 2020, up from 2019 when it didn’t even make the top 10.

The appetite for these properties has extended into last year, with searches for vacation rentals increasing by 25% in 2021, although the search term has fallen to the eighth most popular place.

Clare Beardmore, Head of Brokers and Proposals at Legal & General, comments: “As we celebrate the third anniversary of the SmartrCriteria tool, the data it provides shows how much the market has changed in recent years.

“The continued impact of the pandemic has been undeniable, reshaping the types of properties buyers seek and prompting a number of government initiatives that have seen market activity and house prices rise.”

Beardmore notes that we are entering another phase for the sector as we leave behind the “bottom-up” rates that have dominated the market for so long.

“As we face potential further rate hikes, many homeowners and potential buyers have seen their household finances take a hit, with high energy prices and rising inflation driving up the cost of life,” she added.

SmartrCriteria data from December 2021 has already shown an 8% increase in searches around “payday loans” and Beardmore says there will still be additional financial pressure on borrowers.

“Waiting for our January 2022 data, we can anticipate what this new year might bring. Current pressure on affordability and uncertainty over future rates have the potential to shift borrower preferences towards the comfort of a longer-term fixed rate product, or spur the search for interest-only mortgages that minimize monthly expenses.

“Looking back on the profound change of the past three years, it’s difficult to give a reliable prediction of what we might face over the rest of 2022,” she concludes.

Key trends that have boosted the housing market:

Top 5 searches 2019

Top 5 searches 2020

Top 5 searches 2021

Capital raising

Visa

Visa

Expat not in UK

Maximum age

Loan to value

Gifted Deposit / Gifted Equity

First Time Buyer / First Time Owner / Non-Owner Occupant

Satisfied by default

Visa

Vacation Rental / Air B&B

First Time Buyer / First Time Owner / Non-Owner Occupant

Loan to value

Expat not in UK

Maximum age

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