Why home-movers are still hot property despite Covid

bradshawIt has long been known that home-movers are big business. In fact, research shows that this group of consumers contribute an additional £10bn in retail spend to the economy each year, with the average home-mover outlaying around £13,000 on new furnishings and improvements alone.

However, despite Covid, 2020 was one of the biggest years for the property market and it therefore stands to reason that with more home-movers, there will be increased spend – even taking into account the end of the stamp duty holiday.

Our most recent Property & Homemover’s Report revealed that the housing market has been witnessing transaction levels unseen for over a decade; new instructions are up 16%, sales agreed up 24% and the number of properties being withdrawn from the market down 5%.

In comparison to Q3 2019 new instructions rose by 36%, equating to 150,000 new properties being marketed and sales agreed having increased by 53% or by 160,000 homes, despite an effective market shut down during the first lockdown.

Much of the movement is being driven by a shift in consumer preference. The data reveals a clear exodus from more urban areas with sales agreed rising in rural locations by 48%. Moreover, Inner London is the only region in the UK to have suffered a fall in asking prices, with areas such as the South West and Wales experiencing increases significantly above the national average of £31,000.

The largest increase in sales agreed is for three and four bedroom properties, up 24% and 43% respectively, reflecting people’s desire for more internal space. This is likely to be a direct result of converting bedrooms into home offices as a large proportion of the population continue to work from home.

Interestingly for marketers, over 1.5 million UK households are currently wanting to move, moving soon, moving now, just moved or are settling in to their new home according to our Property & Homemover Report.

This means that marketers have a large and lucrative market to target; one that is conditioned to spend – and not just on retail.

Homemovers are proven to be more likely to change their utility providers, including power, broadband, mobile and media services. They also reassess their insurance options and are more likely to take out new credit cards and loans (and of course mortgages) to fund their move.

There is a clear opportunity for almost all sectors when it comes to home-movers, however, the key is in understanding when best to target them. Too soon and you risk irrelevance, too late and you lose out to another brand. So in order to be able to capitalise the opportunity that home-movers present it is critical that marketers understand when existing and potential customers are planning to move home and precisely where in the moving process they are likely to make buying decisions.

Colin Bradshaw is chief customer officer at TwentyCi

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