During the pandemic, the property market experienced a surge in demand for larger homes with spacious gardens. However, the tides are shifting, and a new trend is emerging. The combination of an ageing population, the post-Covid trend for early retirement and economic uncertainty has sparked a newfound love for downsizing.
And surprisingly it is the bungalow, often overlooked in favour of more glamorous options, that is now left, right and most certainly centre in the spotlight.
As average mortgage rates have risen above 6%, middle-class families facing financial constraints seek alternatives to their larger homes.
Bungalows are becoming increasingly the preferred choice for those looking to downsize.
Additionally, retired couples are joining the downsizing trend, motivated by the energy crisis experienced during the previous winter and the prospect of upcoming expensive winters. This convergence of factors has ignited an earnest search for the quintessentially British property — the bungalow.
The bungalow's rise to prominence has been largely unrecognised. In the first six months of 2021, the average sold price of a UK bungalow was £308,648, compared to the average sold price of a house at £353,661.
Looking forward to the first six months of 2023, the bungalow has risen in price to £346,039, whilst the average house sold price has only risen to £385,392.
That means the average price of a bungalow in Britain has seen a 12.1% rise from the first half of 2021 to the first half of 2023, compared to 8.97% for houses over the same time frame.
This is because the number of homeowners looking to sell and downsize increased by a third last year and continues to rise.
However, it's not just retirees who are drawn to bungalows.
Downsizing families with budget constraints are finding an appeal in bungalows due to their generous garden spaces as a new generation of house hunters recognises the allure of these properties.
The supply chain needs help to keep up with the increasing demand for bungalows. So let’s look at both the national and local picture.
In the last six months, of the 870,031 properties that came onto the market in the UK, only 70,077 (8.05%) have been bungalows.
In the same time frame, 531 houses have sold stc (a saleability rate of 61.6%) and 174 apartments have sold stc (a saleability rate of 76.3%).
To give some context to this, since 1st January 2021:
· 225,297 of the 296,228 bungalows that have come onto the market have sold or are currently sold stc (76.1%).
· 1,813,330 of the 2,548,720 houses that have come onto the market have sold or are currently sold stc (71.1%).
· 528,010 of the 898,183 flats/apartments that have come onto the market have sold or are currently sold stc (58.9%).
So why do we love our bungalows?
Bungalows have long captured the imagination of Britons due to their charm, practicality, and accessibility. Initially influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century, these homes reflect a simpler way of living.
With their convenient layout on a single level, bungalows offer easy accessibility and are an ideal option for homeowners seeking to avoid stairs or mobility challenges. This aspect has contributed significantly to the widespread appeal of bungalows, particularly among older individuals looking for a comfortable and age-friendly living space.
One of the key attractions of bungalows is their versatility and adaptability. These homes can accommodate a wide range of lifestyles, making them an excellent choice for families, retirees, and everyone in between.
Bungalows provide ample space for growing families, allowing for multiple bedrooms, living areas, and even home offices. Their layout also offers the potential for creative customisation, such as converting a spare bedroom into a hobby room, gym, or work-from-home office.
Additionally, bungalows often feature generous gardens, allowing homeowners to create outdoor havens for relaxation, gardening, and entertaining. The seamless integration of indoor and outdoor spaces is another appealing characteristic that makes bungalows stand out in the property market.
These are why the bungalow, long overlooked and considered the ‘Bridesmaid, never the Bride’ of the local property market, is now experiencing a resurgence in popularity.
As an estate agent specialising in bungalows, I encourage homeowners considering a sale in the next 6 to 12 months and those looking to purchase their dream bungalows to contact me.
Together, we can navigate this thriving property market and make your bungalow dreams a reality.