House hunters swap city aspirations for country living

Experian finds 60% of those in their 30s are reassessing where to live

UK, 30 June 2021 - The property aspirations of the population are changing as Britain emerges from the pandemic, according to research from Experian.

60% of those in their 30s and 51% of those in their 20s said the past year of lockdowns had made them rethink where they’d most like to live.

This rethink means owning a city centre flat is now deemed to be outdated by 46% of those surveyed, with 69% saying they would rather buy a larger property, such as a semi-detached house, in a rural area. Dreams of a rural location were highest among people in their 30s (74%), with 58% of this age group suggesting location was more important than the property itself.

In terms of the top ten ‘must haves’ people look for in properties, a garden topped the list, reflecting the growing demand for more outdoor space following the lockdowns:

  1. A garden: 74%
  2. Access to private parking or a driveway: 58%
  3. A spare bedroom: 55%
  4. A bath: 39%
  5. A pet friendly property: 29%
  6. The option to build an extension in the future: 20%
  7. A fireplace: 20%
  8. Wooden floors: 17%
  9. Bay Windows: 15%
  10. A period property: 13%

Although many people have suggested they want to continue working from home following the lockdowns, 61% of people in their 20s said living close to their place of work was still important.

The research found nearly two fifths (38%) of Brits said they were considering buying a new home within the next five years, rising to 67% of people in their 20s and 66% of those in their 30s.

Experian also found these younger generations were among the most active in purchasing properties while the stamp duty holiday was fully in effect. Those in their 30s accounted for 34% of the total mortgage applications made during this time, followed by those in their 40s (27%) and those in their 20s (17%).[1]

Even though they want to own a home, 57% of people in their 20s and 55% in their 30s were worried that they would never be able to afford to buy a property or raise enough money for a deposit. The same groups expressed concerns that they’d never appear ‘mortgage-ready’ to providers, with 49% of people in their 30s and 42% in their 20s worried about this.

James Jones, Head of Consumer Affairs at Experian, said:

“Our research suggests high interest in home ownership is likely to continue over the next five years, as the pandemic shifts people’s aspirations as to what constitutes a dream home.  Green spaces are now more desirable for the majority of those looking for a property, while for those in their 20s living close to work is influential in their home choice.

“Deciding where you want to live and what kind of home you want is exciting, but people are clearly concerned they might not be able to afford a move. There are a number of government schemes such as the Lifetime ISA and Help To Buy that could help people, while knowing your credit score and taking steps to improve it will stand you in the best possible position to apply for a mortgage.”

“People with high credit scores tend to be able to access the best mortgage rates, so it’s worth taking some time to make sure your credit score is in the best possible shape while also thinking about where you want to live”. 

Moving up a credit score band can have a significant impact on application approval and mortgage interest rates. People with higher credit scores tend to be able to access the best mortgage rates. Our research suggests that 49% of people with an excellent Experian Credit Score were able to get a mortgage interest rate of 1% or less.[2]


Notes to editors

[1] Analysis of Credit Applications Previous Searches (CAPS) made via the Experian credit bureau. Mortgage application data was analysed between 8 July 2020, when the stamp duty holiday came into effect, and the 25 June 2021 (ahead of the £500,000 stamp duty holiday extension ending on 30 June 2021).

[2] Calculation based on average estimated APR of Experian customers who have taken out a mortgage between April 2020 and August 2020.

About the research

Experian commissioned Opinium to poll 2,000 UK adults online about mortgage aspirations. The questions were asked between 18th – 21st June 2021 and the sample was weighted to be nationally representative.

Media contact

Rajan Lakhani, Head of PR, Consumer, UK&I, Experian

Tel: (+44) 07976 634 484 | E:

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