KBC Homebuyer survey suggests Post-pandemic property market likely to see solid homebuyer demand return


KBC spring 2020 homebuyer survey suggests demand remained robust prior to Covid-19

  • Underlying demand drivers likely to remain positive when Irish economy recovers
  • Importance of a ’home that works’ increasingly important to prospective purchasers  
  • ‘Putting down roots’ a key focus with 49% of potential buyers planning to stay in their next home for 20 years or more
  • Majority of buyers (58%) feel purchasing a home is harder now than a year ago
  • 40% of first-time buyers expect to get financial support from parents or other family members 

The KBC Bank homebuyer survey for Spring 2020 suggests that demand for housing remained robust in the weeks before Covid-19 struck. In common with most other aspects of social and economic life in Ireland, housing market activity has been severely affected by the pandemic and this could remain the case for some time.

However, with some easing in health-related restrictions now underway, it is worth assessing what the KBC Homebuyer survey might tell us about the post-pandemic property market in Ireland. Among the key findings are;

  • Homebuyer demand  should recover to solid levels. While demand may be somewhat softer in the immediate aftermath of the coronavirus, the nature of the ‘lockdown’ has further emphasised the importance of accommodation that meets varied family needs. Most prospective purchasers cite personal circumstances rather than macroeconomic conditions as the key driver of their plans to purchase. Some 30% cite their stage of life while 12% refer to changed family size and a further 13% highlight a need to relocate for personal or work reasons.
  • Because housing is a necessity, the underlying requirement for somewhere to live will be reflected in a rebound in homebuyer demand as the Irish economy recovers. Some sense of the strength of underlying demand for home purchase is suggested by the spring homebuyer survey finding that some 32% of adults were at least considering purchasing a home in the next two years.
  • The majority (57%) of those planning to buy were first time buyers. This portion has increased of late at the expense of movers (30%) and investors (13%). This shift likely reflects an increase in pent-up demand through recent years because of a constrained level of property transactions and strong population growth.
  • The substantial financial undertaking involved in purchasing a property means that 40% of first time buyers expect to receive financial assistance from parents or other family members with about a third of these getting more than half the expected cost of the deposit.
  • Roughly half (49%) of those considering buying a home plan to stay there for more than 20 years. Only 13% think they will stay in the property they buy for less than five years. This strong inclination to ‘put down roots’ is likely to be boosted further by the experience of the pandemic when homes were required to function as living, working and ‘safe’ spaces for all the family.
  • The desire to ‘future-proof’ property purchase means that most would-be homebuyers (58%) think it is harder to buy a home now than a year ago. This also means that 60% of buyers feel they will have to compromise on where they buy while 62% think they will be forced to compromise on the size of property they purchase.   

About the survey
The KBC Homebuyer survey is based on a nationally representative online survey of 2,000 people carried out on behalf of KBC Bank by Core Research. Responses  were filtered to focus on those who are in the market to purchase a residential property (e.g. a house or apartment to live in or as an investment) in Ireland. We defined 'in the market' as ‘you are thinking about, actively searching or planning to buy in the next 2 years’.Fieldwork took place over two surveys during February 2020 which were merged to ensure an adequate sample.