The coronavirus pandemic has transformed how we think about living space. Previously, many people prioritised location, such as proximity to work and transport links. Now, they’re increasingly valuing homes with access to outdoor space.
Why is outdoor space so important?
Before lockdown became the ‘new normal’, many people, especially younger generations and city dwellers, were indifferent to private outdoor space. Largely because they were rarely home enough to enjoy it. But when our time outside was restricted to one daily walk in the local area, all that changed. Now, renters and buyers alike are desperate for a patch of green to call their own.
In 2020, property search engine Rightmove saw a 100% increase in searches for ‘homes with garden’. Zoopla also reported that the most-search-for term was ‘garden’. In the London residential property market, flats without outdoor space suffered a 10% price drop. Looking at UK regional trends, a garden added up to 16% to a property’s value.
What type of outdoor space should property developers create?
Lockdown might have made people grateful for any access to greenery, but it’s worth considering how you design that space. That means thinking carefully about how people use the area, from layout to landscaping.
Of course, not every development can have perfectly landscaped gardens. This is especially the case in London and other urban centres where square footage is limited. But consider opportunities to integrate rooftop or other communal gardens. And even Juliette balconies can make a major difference to desirability (and, ultimately, profit).
What about indoor space?
The best outdoor space in the world won’t make up for a poorly designed interior. And just as the pandemic made us all desperate for a bit of garden, so too it made us rethink floor plans.
Consider layouts that offer separated space for home working, even if it’s just a demarcated area of an open plan. And storage is an area buyers increasingly value but developers often deprioritise. Integrating storage can help even the snuggest rooms feel spacious and make it easier for residents to make effective use of living space. In fact, we’re increasingly seeing developments with well-considered storage achieve higher GDV.
So, which is really more important?
One isn’t more important than the other – you need a considered approach to both.
As with any other property development consideration, do a thorough market analysis so you understand the demographics and competition in the local area. This will help you strike the right balance between garden size and indoor space, design the most desirable floorplans and create the right garden for your prospective buyers. It’s also something development finance lenders will look for when assessing your project.
By combining outdoor space with cleverly designed properties that meet market needs, you’re then in a strong position can create competitive schemes that deliver greater profitability.