Local housebuilder, Barratt Homes North East, is urging potential home buyers to act fast as figures suggest that confidence in home buying is increasing as the country begins to ease lockdown regulations.

From the week the Government announced lockdown regulations (23rd March 2020) compared to recent figures from the middle of June, Barratt Homes North East has witnessed over a 170% increase in website visits from prospective buyers, reflecting the growing confidence and interest in the housing market, as well as a 52% increase when compared to this time last year.

What’s more, as confidence rebuilds, buyers’ preferences are changing as a result of the lockdown. Data from Rightmove, the UK’s largest property website, shows almost half of renters (49%) and more than one third of homeowners (39%) state that the lockdown has impacted what they’re looking for in their next home. A large garden, a better workspace and a fast internet connection are amongst the top new requirements, whereas commuter times and transport links have become less important.

In order to meet this increased demand, the housebuilder recently launched its virtual tour system, which allows prospective house buyers to view their dream home directly from the sofa, as they are taken on a tour of their desired house type. Personalised one to one appointments can also be booked, as social distancing measures are in place throughout all Sales Offices, Show Homes and construction sites across the region.

Fenton Hewitt, Sales Director at Barratt Developments North East, commented: “It’s great to see confidence in housebuying on the up again. Our team has worked incredibly hard to ensure that potential buyers are still able to learn about our developments and tour the showhomes, whether that’s in person, with social distancing measures in place, or virtually through our website. We’re encouraging all potential buyers to act fast and find out more about developments in their area.”

Miles Shipside, Rightmove Housing Market Analyst, commented: “Traffic on Rightmove has hit its highest ever level with many starting out on a new journey towards their next home and a change in lifestyle, which could come with a very different wish-list to the one they had a few months ago. During lockdown people have been re-evaluating what their must-haves are, and both buyers and renters are craving a home with its own outside space rather than a flat. It will be fascinating to see how the trends unfold over the course of the rest of the year.”

Barratt Developments North East offers a range of properties throughout the region that can be purchased using the government’s Help to Buy scheme, which allows house buyers to purchase a brand new home up to the value of £600,000 with just a 5% deposit, thanks to a 20% loan from the government. This scheme has been highly effective in getting people onto the housing ladder, helping more than 250,000 families to buy their new home.