Surge in house sales in Preston during pandemic

Coronavirus triggers huge number of people to move house

By Mike Hill
Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 3:47 pm

One in nine people in Preston moved house because of the coronavirus pandemic, a survey suggests.

Research by the think tank Demos asked 20,000 adults in parliamentary constituencies across Great Britain how the Covid-19 crisis had affected where they want to live.

In Preston, 11 per cent of people surveyed in December said they had recently moved house or were planning on doing so for reasons related to the pandemic.

Coronavirus triggers one in nine Preston residents to move house

Across Great Britain, nine per cent of survey respondents said the same.

The Chartered Institute of Housing said many people have re-evaluated where and how they want to live, as lockdown highlighted the importance of affordable, well-located, good quality housing.

Melanie Rees, head of policy and external affairs at CIH, added: "Increased working from home for those who are lucky enough to be able to do so has meant that people don’t need to be within daily commuting distance of work.

"Moving out of urban centres where house prices are high can mean that people can afford bigger, better quality housing in more pleasant surroundings.

"We have to think about the impact of this on people already living in an area who might find themselves priced out of renting or owning a home due to the house-price inflation caused by people moving in with more money to spend."

The survey showed a further 6% of residents in Preston were thinking about moving house because of the pandemic, though they had no solid plans yet.

However, the majority of people (65%) were not thinking of relocating.

Demos said young adults, particularly those in their mid-20s with lower incomes, were the most likely to move as a result of the pandemic.

Some students may have returned home from university prematurely, while young urban workers trying to start their careers were also affected.

The Institute for Public Policy Research, a progressive think tank, said rising house prices overwhelmingly benefit existing homeowners, while widening social and economic inequalities.

Jonathan Webb, IPPR senior research fellow, said: "The UK’s chronic undersupply of housing means that when places become popular with home movers, house prices can inflate rapidly.

"This can result in places quickly becoming unaffordable. The impacts are often felt most severely by lower income households, who can easily find themselves priced out of areas that might have previously been affordable."

The solution is for governments to increase the supply of homes, particularly "genuinely affordable social rent homes", he added.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said government-backed schemes were helping many people get the keys to their own home.

She added: “We delivered more than 243,000 homes last year – the highest number in over 30 years – and are investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over the next five years to help councils, housing associations and others deliver new homes.”