The survey, representing the views of over 700 clients across 44 countries also highlights that improved access to quality of healthcare is now the second most important motive behind a property purchase.
“Buyers expect property prices to decline over the next 12 months, although 53% of respondents say their budget has remained the same or increased since the start of the crisis. Over a quarter of respondents say they are more likely to buy a second home as a result of the pandemic,” the survey finds.
Over half of respondents have either travelled abroad already or will do so within three months of borders reopening
“The crisis has fundamentally changed the way we live our everyday lives with the home now a hub from which we work, exercise, learn, socialise and relax. With demands on the home expanding and people having had time to reflect on the way they live and use their space, it is inevitable that as we ease out of lockdown these changes will have repercussions on property markets around the world,” said Kate Everett-Allen, Knight Frank’s head of international residential research.
One in four people surveyed, said they were more likely to move in the next 12 months as a result of the pandemic, with most of these respondents seeking a different property in the same location (40%).
Some 26% said they are willing to move to a different property elsewhere in the same country and 34% of those considering a move are considering a purchase abroad (9% of all respondents).
The UK, Spain and France top the list of preferred destinations to purchase a home, followed by Australia, Canada, Switzerland and the US.
All countries that offer a good quality of life, political stability, a secure currency, excellent education systems and in normal times are easily accessible. New Zealand, Portugal, Malta and Norway also ranked highly. Upgrading the family’s main residence ranked highest as the reason for purchasing, with improved access to quality healthcare ranking second, a holiday home in the sun was ranked third followed by business or employment reasons in fourth place.
45% of the respondents say they are more likely to buy a detached family home than they were prior to Covid-19, with waterfront homes (40%) and rural homes (37%) also in favour. Nearly two-thirds of respondents say they are more likely to work from home post-lockdown, which explains why 64% say a home office is now more important.
The survey highlights that buyers expect prices to fall over the next 12 months. The Knight Frank Prime Global Forecast, conducted in April 2020, shows that on average prices are anticipated to fall in 16 of the 20 cities tracked in the report in 2020.
Of the 56% respondents that expect prices to fall over the next 12 months, 27% expect prices to fall by less than 10%, but 25% expect no change and 19% expect prices to increase. Some 53% of buyers believe their budget has either remained the same or increased since the start of the crisis. With few opportunities to spend during lockdown, it is likely buyers have spent less and saved more.
However, over 30% of respondents believe their budget has declined by over 10% since the start of the crisis, no doubt as a result of companies having to resort to salary cuts, reduced hours or redundancies.
Over 26% of respondents said they were more likely to buy a second home as a result of the pandemic, presumably to enhance their lifestyle and to use as a retreat in the event of a second spike. Knight Frank data supports this view, with a surge in enquiries witnessed immediately after lockdown in prime second home hotspots across France and Italy.