Looking back. Thinking forward. 2022 in review


As we said goodbye to the last of the UK’s Covid-19 restrictions, we also bid farewell to our longest-serving monarch. With a new King and three Prime Ministers, it was all change in 2022.

Though many of 2021’s housing trends remained – being environmentally conscious, less concern with commuting distances and the hunt for the perfect working-from-home (WFH) spot – we discovered some new big-hitters.

Here, we take a closer look at the trends that remained and those that joined us this year.

North or South? East or West?

Post-pandemic working patterns have led to greater flexibility when searching for properties. The WFH generation of house hunters can pick up sticks and settle down in a much wider radius – meaning a ‘big’ move could be on the cards for many of us.

So where do people want to live? The South is popular, with 15% of us opting for the South East and 10% after a home in the South West. However, the North West isn’t far behind: 9% chose this corner of the country as their dream location. With the U.K. boasting over 7,000 miles of spectacular coastline, and these popular regions offering some of the most breath-taking seascapes, it’s easy to see why so many dream of a place beside the seaside.

But it’s not only WFH and the flexibility it brings that’s influencing location criteria. Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club has changed some people’s perception of senior living. Meanwhile chart-topping films and TV series also play a role. Bridgerton helps keep Bath in top spot, while Amazon’s Lord of the Rings prequel brought Middle Earth to Hereford. Could this county be the UK’s next ‘place to be’?

Northumberland coast

Why up sticks?

Moving home takes time, money and effort. So, what’s making it worth it this year? Having the chance to snap up a home in your ideal location is the front runner. But as our Housing Futures survey highlighted, there were new contenders in 2022.

Access to outdoor space was a must-have for 77% of movers – closely followed by a quieter location and good indoor mobile phone connectivity. This suggests more of us are searching for the ultimate ‘hybrid’ life: seeking out calm, while being able to WFH without worrying about pixelated video calls. At the same time, some of our previous must-haves are starting to drop down the priority list. With increasing flexibility, proximity to work is less of a driver when home-hunting. Instead, 26% of us are now looking for a home office space that’s more than just a nook under the stairs.

81% of those aged 18-34 would prefer to buy their next home.

Our latest research found that 67% of the population would like to own their next home, while 24% want to rent. From our survey, we know that those in Generation Y (or ‘millennials’) are set to live in the private rental sector much longer than other generations. 54% of respondents to our survey stated their main reason for not taking the first step on the homeownership ladder is a financial one.

Three-bed, detached, with a garage and…

Gardens. Garages. Utility rooms. Our list of deal-breakers and makers could go on forever. Our Housing Futures survey found that these three items topped our new home search criteria in 2022 – with our survey revealing three-bedroom houses as still the most sought-after. Other wishes and wants included a walled garden (inspired by Netflix favourite, Bridgerton, perhaps), a statement kitchen island and a pantry for storing all those WFH snacks.

Our survey also showed us that technology has come to rule the world – and the housing market. Property hunters are searching for properties that technologically connects them and keeps them secure. 39% want home security, while others need to be able to use smart devices. This year, for the first time, we asked respondents where mobile phone connectivity sat on their wish lists – 65% said a good signal indoors was important in their house purchase. Meanwhile 47% wouldn’t consider a home with a poor broadband connection, pantry or no pantry.

Phone signal and broadband connection continued to rise in importance

Giving eco-living the green light

From electric car charging points to double-glazing, smart thermostats to insulation, our properties are becoming more environmentally friendly and home hunters, more sustainability minded. 67% are now looking for an eco-friendly spot to call home – a figure that rises to 75% for the 18-34 age group.

But it’s important to consider both sides of the environmental coin. After all, while 38% of the population are swapping hot desking for WFH at the dining room table more than three days a week, on the days we do head to the office our commuting distances have increased. In fact, more than 81% of us are happy to travel up to 20 miles – a huge jump from the 68% who said the same two years ago. And these longer journeys increase our carbon footprints.

Last year’s Housing Futures survey highlighted our eco-conscious attitudes when buying new homes. The impact of the UK’s energy crisis can’t be downplayed here, but perhaps David Attenborough’s Green Planet deserves credit for keeping it at the forefront of our minds.

But, as the survey shows, there are new trendsetters on the block too: private outdoor spaces with walled gardens, a quiet location and great technological connections. So, while we look back on 2022, we can’t help but look forwards to the new trends that will no doubt come to the fore in 2023.

What does your next home look like? And where will it be? Take part in the 10th year of our Housing Futures survey here.

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