U.K. City Apartments Back in Demand After Departures in Pandemic

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Britain’s city-center apartments and smaller properties are selling again after a loosening of lockdowns that sent buyers fleeing for the suburbs.

The online property site Rightmove said demand for homes in inner London rose 30% since January, while Norwich gained 62% and York by 76%. It’s a shift from the past year, when bigger properties and family homes were the most sought after.

The findings suggest city living retains appeal as the government allows restaurants, bars and entertainment to reopen. Measures to encourage low-deposit mortgages also are helping more first-time buyers, said Andy McHugo at James Laurence Estate Agents in Birmingham.

“Not only are inquiry levels fantastic, committed residential buyers are now returning,” McHugo said. “Whilst the pandemic has slowed down the rate of growth, Birmingham, and the city in particular, is an exciting place in which to invest and indeed live.”

  • Rightmove’s measure of demand comes from people contacting agents to request details about property on the site
  • Outer London boroughs are performing better than those in the center of the city
  • A survey of 1,000 first-time-buyers showed almost 1-in-5 plan to take out a mortgage for 95% of the value of the property
  • Lockdowns helped 60% save for a deposit to buy a home

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