The coronavirus lockdown has not only forced Britons to stay home in recent months, but it has also given them the chance to reevaluate their living situation. Many people may have found the restrictions gave them a new perspective on where they want to live and what they need from their homes, especially as working remotely is set to continue. But while the housing market had to close temporarily when the lockdown was in full force, the UK is now able to get moving again with sales and viewings going ahead.
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However, a new report has revealed a surprising trend for property buyers following the lockdown.
It seems the pandemic may have given buyers itchy feet – with some looking much further afield for their next dream home.
Rightmove has analysed its search data and discovered that demand for overseas property has “rocketed” as travel restrictions ease around the UK.
The property site linked the activity to the relaxation of the rules regarding non-essential travel, as holidaymakers prepare to jet off for their summer getaways.
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Rightmove revealed that it had seen a record-breaking number of house hunters looking for property abroad, in its Rightmove Overseas section.
As the government made its announcement that Britons would be able to travel without quarantine on Sunday June 28, the site saw more than one million searches for properties abroad.
It’s the first time the website has seen such high figures for its overseas searches, with a boost of 28 percent compared to June 2019.
It’s also attracted new clientele who are hoping to make their move into property away from the UK, with the number of new users on Rightmove Overseas 41 percent higher in June compared to last year.
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The data suggested that buyers were either looking to relocate to sunnier climes, or to secure themselves a holiday home in one of their favourite seaside destinations.
Despite the change in travel rules allowing holidays to go ahead, many Britons will still be wary of staying in hotels or holiday apartments where they may come into contact with other tourists.
A holiday home could be the answer for those looking to invest in their own property abroad, giving buyers the chance to get away without mixing with other households as the pandemic continues to pose a risk.
Property experts have also found a change in priorities for those looking to move, with outside space and bigger homes becoming more important than ever over fears of another lockdown.
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Rightmove also revealed the most popular countries for those looking to make their move into overseas property ownership.
Spain topped the list of searches for June, where available properties include a three-bedroom villa in Alicante with a private pool for £315,423.
France was the next most popular location on the list for buyers who may be looking to stay a little closer to home – especially as they could make use of the Eurostar rather than taking a flight, which may be deemed more risky.
Portugal, Italy and Greece were the next most popular searches; but while Greece may not be as in demand as Spanish properties, a three bedroom villa in Crete is more affordable with prices at just £283,881.
However, it’s not just the lockdown that may have sparked the trend – as often the not-so-great British weather can cause buyers to reassess their living arrangements.
Rightmove’s overseas insights expert Rachel Beaton explained: “We’ve seen a gradual resurgence of interest from home-hunters looking for properties abroad since April, but after the government confirmed there will be easing of travel restrictions to certain countries we saw demand for overseas homes rise even further to record-breaking levels.
“We know that activity on Rightmove Overseas is always an inverse response to the British weather – so traffic dips when we have good weather, and then bounces back when the rain comes – and this was exactly what happened in the final weekend of June.
“This, coupled with the news about fewer restrictions on overseas travel, saw UK home-hunters flock to our site to look at places they could relocate to or buy a holiday home.”
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