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What 2022 is set to hold for the residential property market

By Emma Goodwin
21 December 2021

By Emma Goodwin

2021 (and 2020, for that matter) has been a rather strange year for the residential property market (and indeed, the world).

Arguably, consumer priorities and mindsets have changed more than ever in the last two years, with the landscape continuously shifting – especially as we now grapple with the growing likelihood of an uncertain start to the next year.

So, what can we expect from property buyers in 2022, and in turn, what’s going to be important to them? Here, we look at three of the consumer trends set to shape the residential property market in 2022.

Boomerang buyers

The great mass exodus from capital to countryside was one of 2020’s hottest topics. Now, the tables are turning, as somewhat unsurprisingly, it turns out the grass isn’t always greener. From the Cotswolds to Cornwall, swathes of Londoners made the leap in search of quintessential country life, with fresh air, more space and a slower pace – safe in the knowledge the daily commute was, in all likelihood, a thing of the past.

However, now the boxes are unpacked, it appears the inconvenience of a 20-minute journey for a pint of milk, the extended distance from friends, and for many, the sheer amount of mud, isn’t worth it.  

As we enter 2022, with many looking to return to the office on a more regular basis, we’re expecting the lure of the capital to continue, with more people making the move back to city life.

The rise of the regions

Whilst London is set to see many rural retreaters scurrying back, it looks like it won’t just be the capital they head to.

With the great north-south divide diminishing (when it comes to house prices, at least), areas like the west Midlands, the South West, and Yorkshire and the Humber are set to see higher price growth and demand in 2022 – buoyed by buyers wanting more bang for their buck and the promise of a more fluid hybrid working life in the future. In particular, this means many buyers will likely look outside of traditional employment hubs like commuter towns and bigger cities.

But where to look? We’re putting our pennies on towns like Harrogate and Hexham, both of which took top spots in Rightmove’s 2021 Happy at Home Index.

Sustainability sells

For two weeks in November, all eyes were on Glasgow and all anyone was talking about was sustainability. And rightly so. With homes in the UK accounting for around 15% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions (according to the Climate Change Committee), the housing market can make a huge difference to the wellbeing of the planet.

Given the gravity of the situation, it’s highly unlikely the conversation around sustainability and homes will end any time soon. But while the pledges made during COP26 will inevitably lead to some much-needed changes across the industry, we’re expecting 2022 to also bring some changes to consumer mindsets.

But the green revolution isn’t just about reducing single-use plastic. Many people are now considering their environmental and social responsibilities when it comes to buying a house, and in the case of new build property, want homes that are in line with their own eco values – making sustainability a major differentiator in the purchase process.

Ensuring the features and amenities that better prepare buyers in the long term, it’s a challenge developers and consumers will be facing in 2022 and beyond.