Stockport has seen the biggest increase in interest over 2020 for homebuyers considering a move over lockdown, according to data from Rightmove published by the MEN.
Both searches for homes to rent, and to buy in Stockport saw 30% increases in volume in 2020 compared to 2019. With many spending more time at home during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, people have sought homes away from city-centres to more suburban neighbourhoods to ensure access to outdoor spaces and larger properties with space for home offices.
The town topped the leaderboard for increases in property market activity in Greater Manchester; many homebuyers are attracted to the town’s good connectivity with Manchester city centre and Manchester Airport, while also being in easy reach of the Cheshire countryside and Peak District National Park. An ongoing stamp duty holiday as part of the government’s economic response to the pandemic has also driven the sales market. In addition to Stockport, Sale, Altrincham, Rochdale and Bolton all saw over 20% rises in interest from those looking to buy in Greater Manchester.
Rightmove’s Director of Property Data Tim Bannister said:
Rightmove’s director of property data Tim Bannister added: “The property market overcame many unexpected challenges in 2020, most notably with agents adapting and evolving the way they worked to ensure that people could still move home safely.
“Spending more time at home last year gave lots of people the impetus to reassess their housing needs, and coupled with the stamp duty holiday, many people had extra motivation to move home.
“This shift translated into record levels of demand, which is reflected in these big increases in property searches, and has given us a list of the most popular places to live in Manchester.”
Nationwide, coastal towns saw the biggest jumps in interest according to Rightmove’s analysis. Cornish seaside resorts of Looe, Padstow, St Ives and Fowey all saw buyer searches more than double, with Morecambe in Lancashire the only place in Rightmove’s top 5 outside the county, in part thanks to the popularity of ITV’s The Bay.
As well as homebuyers, renters are also turning away from cities for in favour of suburban towns like Stockport. The property website recently reported that city-centre rents had fallen over 2020, including a 5% drop in Manchester rents. Listings in many cities, including Leeds and Inner London, have doubled over 2020, as residents move out for the suburbs.
Rightmove’s Tim Bannister added:
The price premium that many tenants are usually willing to pay to have the vibrancy of a city centre on their doorstep has been tempered for now. This brings a challenge for some landlords but also an opportunity for tenants who may be able to make a longer term decision and move into a city centre now, perhaps on a two year tenancy agreement, at a more attractive rent than this time last year.
“There’s no doubt that higher rents will return once life goes back to some form of normality, but it will be the city centre properties with gardens and balconies that will be able to command the biggest premiums. Outside city centres it’s a very different picture, with agents reporting extremely busy markets and rising rents. Available stock is lower than the usual level we would see at this time of year, and demand is higher, leading to a much better outlook for those landlords in the suburbs and in smaller towns and villages.”
The activity in Stockport’s property market will be good news to the many ongoing developments in the town such as at Weir Mill, which has incorporated balconies and communal green spaces into the development in response to the pandemic, as well as in suburban developments such as Handforth Garden Village.