An office and a garden have overtaken closeness to a station, shops and restaurants when it comes to choosing a new home, according to research commissioned by Wayhome.

Censuswide surveyed 2,175 renters and homeowners revealing people’s priorities had changed with space and closeness to parks becoming the most enticing qualities of a property.

Wayhome chief executive Nigel Purves said: “When you’re narrowing down your search for the perfect home to rent or buy, most of us will have a wish-list, usually split into the ‘essentials’ and ‘nice-to-haves’.

“Our report makes it clear just how far these wish-lists have changed as the pandemic rolled on. In most cases, we’ve seen a complete reversal, with potential renters and homeowners prioritising the things that would make living and working in that space the most comfortable and fit for purpose.”

More than a quarter of respondents said enough room for a proper office was critical with this rising to 30 per cent for parents and 22 per cent for those without children.

Nearly a third of all homeowners and renters wanted more space in general with a quarter saying a bigger bedroom was necessary.

More than a third said access to a private garden had become increasingly important with over half of those aged 55 rating this as critical.  Younger house hunters were less bothered with 35 per cent of 24 to 42-year-olds and 43 per cent of 43 to 54-year-olds citing a garden as essential. Just over a fifth felt living near a public garden or green space was important.

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A quarter of women rated being close to friends and family as important compared with 17 per cent of male respondents.

Only 14 per cent said it was key for a property to be close to public transport with 17 per cent citing an easy commute as vital. Proximity to shops and restaurants was important for 17 per cent of those surveyed.

“With the end of lockdown in sight, now would be an opportune time for the industry to reassess the actual needs of renters and homeowners post-pandemic and support innovative and alternative routes that get more people onto the property ladder,” said Mr Purves.

Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said development and property refurbishment finance lenders were keen to back projects with generous living space given that some element of remote working was likely to continue post the pandemic.

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Shiraz Khan