It's that time of the year when editors look for angles for retrospective pieces on the year that was and speculative articles on what may be to come. This year, for obvious reasons, the content doing the rounds feels a lot more pertinent than usual and several property portals have released articles based on their own search data or that of Google to uncover how home search changed in 2020 and how it may change further in 2021. We've summarised the findings from a few leading property portals' editorial departments to try to find some common themes in search trends from around the world.
The Italian property portal has delved into Google's Trends data for its annual review of search trends. Unsurprisingly they found a massive surge in interest for virtual tours around the time of lockdown as well as a general increase in searches for terms related to an increase in living space such as 'detached' and 'garden'. The portal also registered more searches for properties located away from big cities reflecting a trend seen among many countries' property hunters.
The UK number two portal releases semi-regular articles around its search data trends partly to help its agent customers understand what inventory to go after. This year those agents may be paying special attention to properties with features such as gardens and balconies, search terms which ranked #1 and #8 respectively on Zoopla's 2020 list of most searched features. Also prominent in British house-hunter minds this year have been "secluded" properties (#6 on the list) and "rural" properties (#5). Other terms relating to a desire for increased living space such as "annexe" (#9) and "detached" (#4) also feature in the top ten terms.
The agent-owned property portal has released its findings on its users' search intent in 2020 and the theme of users seeking more space as a reaction to lockdown is prominent. The portal reported an uptick of 78% for those searching for outdoor space with the balcony/terrace tickbox option being particularly popular among users. There has also been a marked increase in the number of searches executed on the portal for land across the country.
Instead of a retrospective, the US market leader gives us an insight into what it believes the most desired features may be in the world of real estate in 2021. The desire for increased space seen elsewhere is present with Zillow editors predicting that homes with a 'backyard oasis' will be a trend in the coming year. Also predicted to be important in the new year are amenities conducive to intergenerational living as people seek to maximise time with relatives by moving in with them as well as 'homecation' amenities such as swimming pools, firepits and a lakeside dock. The most important coming trend according to Zillow however is the so-called 'Zoom-room', as more people work from home the home office is likely to become a must-have for many Americans according to the portal's research.
Whether we see 'Zoom-room' appearing in the lists of portal search filters in the coming year remains to be seen, but clearly there are lessons not only for the portals themselves but for agents and home builders to pay attention to in the demand side data coming from property portals' query data here.