The past year has certainly been a rollercoaster with most industries still feeling the effect of the pandemic, the housing market however has only grown. We’ve set up our data now that allows us to report on demand and trends for affordable homes. Sine 2013 we’ve been helping people to find affordable homes to rent and buy. We can look at it for shared ownership, rentals and more specifically over 55s housing rental demand.
Searches for affordable housing on our website does tend to dip towards the end of the year as it does on other portals. This is cyclical as most people tend to stop their search before Christmas, however come January search activity takes off again. So what was the affordable homes demand in 2021? Our data findings based on searches made on our website are shared below.
Website traffic growth exceeds 25% and enquiries increase by over 30% in 2021
Traffic growth was over 25% for us with over 3.8 million page views made during 2021 compared to just over 3 million in 2020. and almost double the 2 million we had in 2019. We also had over a 33% increase in new users too. It proves there are so many people searching for affordable homes. So demand according to our data is exceeding supply. As you will see below demand is higher in some areas more than others.
Alongside this the number of property enquiries grew by over 30% for 2021 compared to the previous year.
MK9 in Milton Keynes the most searched postcode for shared ownership in 2021
Based on our analysis of searches done for 2021 MK9 is the most searched location for a shared ownership home. This was the same result we got when we ran the report for the period October 2020 to September 2021. This could mean that those seeking shared ownership in Milton Keynes know more about the scheme. Or Milton Keynes is popular for those seeking affordable homes like shared ownership.
Based on our analysis, out of the top 5 postcodes searched, L3 in Liverpool saw the greatest improvement on Q3 figures with a doubling in the number of searches.
Top 5 places searched for shared ownership in Q4 2021
- MK9 – Milton Keynes (was Manchester in Q3)
- M3 – Manchester (was Milton Keynes in Q3)
- SW1A – London (was Stockport in Q3)
- L3 – Liverpool (was Swindon in Q3)
- HR4 – Hereford (was London in Q3)
Most searches were looking for first time buyer homes. We know that shared ownership was initially the main target of this group. However, it is important to note it can also be an option for those who have gone through a relationship breakdown or are looking to get back on the housing ladder after being away from it. So they may have owned a home previously, but are currently renting or have alternative living arrangements such as moving back home or staying with friends.
Not everyone one is seeking a new build property. Searches for shared ownership resales are much higher. Our findings match those of Leeds Building Society as they reported towards the end of last year.
Our own data shows that the most shared ownership searches were for semi-detached houses. This could suggest first time buyers are looking for homes with more open space to include gardens especially since we’ve been in the Covid pandemic for the last few years.
SW1A in London the most searched postcode for over 55s housing to rent in 2021
Based on our analysis, out of the top 5 postcodes searched, BD1 in Bradford saw the greatest improvement on Q3 figures.
Top 5 places searched for Over 55s rent in Q4 2021
- SW1A – London (same as Q3)
- M3 – Manchester (was Birmingham in Q3)
- B3 – Birmingham (was Manchester in Q3)
- BS1 – Bristol (was Nottingham in Q3)
- BD1 – Bradford (was Leeds in Q3)
Top homes searched for over 55s looking to rent were bungalows followed by apartments. We already know based on research reported on in 2021 that not enough bungalows are being built to meet demand.
B3 in Birmingham is the most popular rental postcode in 2021 overall
If we look at all rental searches (over and under 55s) the top homes searched for were flats which accounted for 30% of all property types searched in Q4.
Top 5 places searched for affordable rentals in Q4 2021
- B3 – Birmingham
- SW1A – London
- L3 – Liverpool
- M3 – Manchester
- LS1 – Leeds
The top 5 were the same as they were in Q3 2021. As ever, the demand for these affordable homes such as social rent exceeds the supply in Birmingham as well as the other areas where demand is high.
Manchester and London most searched locations for affordable homes in 2021
It’s interesting to note that both M3 in Manchester and SW1A in London appear on the most searches for both over 55s housing to rent as well as shared ownership. From our data it appears that the appetite to live in large cities has not dampened due to the pandemic. Get in touch if you would like more specific information around postcode searches.
Source: Statistics from our Google Analytics data.