Rising numbers of people have been searching for properties to buy in the north-east during the pandemic.
Market insights for 2020 released by Aberdeen Solicitors Property Centre (ASPC) show activity levels throughout the past year.
And analysis reveals there’s still an appetite for moving house, despite lockdown challenges, with 77.3 million house property views on the ASPC site in 2020 – an increase of 57% on the year before.
ASPC said it was likely people were noticing aspects of their homes they disliked more often due to spending more time in their homes during lockdowns than ever before.
Properties that once felt cosy were possibly now viewed as cramped and some householders could be keen to move into a home with a different garden.
The market slowed down during the first quarter of the year when buyers were not allowed to view homes.
However, annual sales across the north-east dipped by only 13% compared to 2019, with the average time it took to sell a property increasing by only 44 days.
ASPC said it had three million users on the site last year – an increase of 13% using both the website and app.
Lorna Coutts, chief executive of ASPC, said in an online blog: “Although the number of sales decreased in 2020, interest in properties surged – with a 13% increase in the number of users on the ASPC app and website, and over 3 million individuals visiting throughout the year.
“This has resulted in over 13 million sessions on the ASPC app and website, 22.6 million property searches, and an incredible 77.3 million property views, which is an increase of 57% compared to 2019. These statistics clearly demonstrate that the interest in purchasing properties did not dip in 2020.”
“It could be argued that the huge increase in views is a direct result of people slowing down, and having more time on their hands. However, it is more likely that in 2020, most people will have spent more time in their homes than ever before, and small dislikes will be more prevalent, now more than ever.
“Homes that once felt cosy, are now feeling cramped, and the garden that only gets sunlight for two hours of the day is now considered a big deal. As a result, people are now actively looking for their new, dream home that incorporates all of their property ‘must-haves’.”
The firm recorded more than 10,000 emails sent to prospective buyers, informing users of homes which match their dream home criteria.
And although there was a slight decline in sales, numbers remained very positive, given that 2020 brought a global pandemic which led to viewings suspended for 100 days.
Lorna said: “Last year, we lived in unprecedented times, and the uncertainty of day to day life had a negative impact on buying behaviour for items far smaller than a new home. However, as we grew accustomed to the new technologies, and adapted the way we did things, the world began to accept the ‘new normal’.
“Since the original restrictions have been lifted, ASPC has achieved record-breaking levels of traffic, both to the app and the website, which has stayed strong through the quieter months, confirming that the appetite to purchase is still there, even if the process is slightly different.”