How real estate demand evolves at a result of the pandemic

How real estate demand evolves at a result of the pandemic

Italians seem to have clear ideas about what the perfect home should look like, especially after days spent indoors due to the pandemic. A recent report by the Research Centre highlighted aspirations and desires for the home of their dreams, identifying precise trends to which, however, one very specific category is often an exception: rental homes.

To sum up, new housing needs are more relevant in relation to a property to buy. The rental scenario, on the other hand, is different and for some parameters shows a trend that differs greatly from that of sales. This is how.

Need more space? Not always
In order to better understand the difference between the desires for a house to buy and one to rent, it is necessary to clarify in both cases what the new ideal models are. More space: these are the key words to summarise the main characteristics sought by today’s homebuyers. Forced cohabitation, working from home, the lack of open spaces to enjoy some fresh air: the way the Covid-19 has radically changed our habits and lifestyle is reflected in the square metres available. What used to be sufficient is now no longer enough.

The 2021 property plan
So, without any particular surprises, it’s easy to see how the preference for villas, terraced houses and rustic or farmhouses has increased by 12.3% in one year. And if you really can’t buy a detached solution, then let there be at least one extra room. In 2020 the maximum number of rooms was 3, today it has risen to 4: essential to create a small office or to have an autonomous environment in which to dedicate oneself to hobbies and passions without disturbing those who live in the rest of the house. Balconies and terraces also seem to have become indispensable: the number of searches that include them as essential requirements for buying a house has increased by 10.3% in the course of a year.

The needs change radically, however, when it comes to renting a house. Or rather, they remain the same as in the past. The need for more space and more square metres vanishes when it comes to rentals: the average minimum surface area sought for a rented home has remained practically unchanged over the last twelve months, at 63.5 square metres. The average maximum surface area has even recorded a small contraction, almost 2%: from 90.7 square metres in January 2020 to 88.9 in January 2021.

Spending capacity and context: more marked differences between buying and renting
There is no increase in the desire for larger volumes, but the average minimum budget for rent has risen significantly – by 6.3% – from €389 last year to €415 today. This is an important indicator for the rental sector, indicating that the need for flats in good condition or located in a better neighbourhood has probably intensified at the expense of a few extra square metres.

In contrast, in the case of a property to buy, spending power does not grow at the rate of the desire for more space. While the average area of the dream home grew by almost 7 per cent in one year, the average maximum expenditure set in the search increased by only 1.3 per cent to €216,500.

As regards the residential context in which people look for a house to buy or a house to rent, two diametrically opposed trends can be observed. In the first case – as a result of the new need for more space, more isolation and independence – searches are concentrated to a significant extent in the areas surrounding cities, which naturally enjoy larger green areas. This may also be due to new ways of working remotely, which make the need to live near offices less relevant.

On the other hand, searches for houses to rent have seen a shift in focus from the outskirts to the more central areas of cities, in order to have a property that fits better into the urban context. In addition, this trend was probably encouraged by the increase in the number of available properties, now deprived of the tourist flow that has emptied holiday homes in the major centres.