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The Most Popular Property Types in UK by City

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Researchers at Bird & Co wanted to investigate the types of properties people in the UK were most interested in, to get a better sense of the market over the past year.

To find out, they looked at the Google search volumes for various property key terms related to factors like home type and bedroom count for each English city.

The research provides insight into which property types seemingly have the most demand in the UK, and which area is generally receiving the most attention for property searches on the whole. This data could be useful for those looking to move to a new city, informing them on what is most popular and what properties may be in high demand.

The data considered all 55 cities in England, excluding any where there was a lack of data, and observed the average monthly search volume for each search term across the UK, using popular SEO tool Ahrefs. The research covers:

  • Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for Properties
  • Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for Flats and Apartments
  • Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for Cottages
  • Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for 1 Bed Flats
  • Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for 1 Bed Properties
  • Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for 2 Bed Properties
  • Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for 3 Bed Properties
  • Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for 4 Bed Properties
  • Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for 5 Bed Properties

Which Areas Are UK People Most Interested in By Property Type?

Starting with which cities attract the most the prospective buyers, the research looked at generic search terms like ‘flats to buy [Location]’. This provided an overview of the most popular cities people were interested to buy a property in.

Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for Properties for Sale

Examining search terms like ‘properties for sale [location]’ shows the most popular cities people were interested in buying. The top 10 areas that ranked, and their associated search volumes, were:

  1. Nottingham     1,800
  2. London            1,500
  3. Bristol              1,000
  4. Manchester     800
  5. Norwich          800
  6. Plymouth        800
  7. Leeds                700
  8. Leicester          700
  9. Liverpool         700
  10. Sheffield          700

Surprisingly Nottingham tops the English cities when it comes to ‘properties for sale’ searches within the area. Recent data shows Nottingham is one of the most affordable areas to buy for couples, which could also explain the volume of searches.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, London comes second as one of the places where properties for sale are searched the most. Given the number of people who reside in London, we’d expect to see the location in the majority of the results.

At the opposite end of the scale, with little to no searches, were cities such as Bath and Brighton, perhaps suggesting people look for more specific types of property within these areas. Alternatively, perhaps there is a general lack of interest in searching online here, with people using other methods for these areas.

Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for Apartments

Examining search terms like ‘apartments for sale [Location]’ and ‘flats for sale [Location]’ showed the most popular cities where people were interested in flats. The top 10 areas that ranked, and their associated search volumes, were:

  1. London            3,500
  2. Manchester     2,100
  3. Liverpool         1,100
  4. Bristol              950
  5. Nottingham     850
  6. Leeds               800
  7. Sheffield          550
  8. Newcastle       500
  9. Birmingham    450
  10. Southampton  400

Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for 1 Bedroom Flats

Examining search terms like ‘1 bedroom property for sale [location]’ the most popular cities people were interested in 1 bed flats and apartments were revealed. The top areas and their associated search volumes, were:

  1. London              550
  2. Bristol                260
  3. Brighton            150
  4. Manchester      140
  5. Southampton  130
  6. Plymouth         120
  7. Birmingham       70
  8. Exeter                  60
  9. Portsmouth        60
  10. Sheffield             50

As expected, the top cities in England people are most interested in looking for flats and apartments are the major cities where land is hard to come by and the areas are particularly built up.

London, Manchester, and Bristol are not only popular with students, but with professionals looking to reside close to city centres within property that is easier to maintain than a house.

Surprisingly, considering Brighton came out on the lower end for search terms surrounding “properties for sale”, it is 3rd place in this list. This suggests people are specifically interested in flats in Brighton, compared to any other property type.

At the bottom end of the searches were cities such as Truro, perhaps due to the vast rural areas of land in the area, so the need for flats is minimal.

Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for Cottages

  1. Birmingham    900
  2. Bath                 500
  3. Brighton          450
  4. Bradford          400
  5. London            200
  6. Nottingham     200
  7. Bristol              150
  8. Liverpool         100
  9. Manchester     100
  10. York                  100

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bath scores highly when it came to the list of cities that people are looking for cottages in. Given it is situated in an area surrounded by natural beauty and countryside, it seems fitting for cottages to be a popular search.

Perhaps what is surprising is Birmingham having the most searches of all the English cities. That said, the larger borough is rural in character, with many outlying villages, and three quarters of the borough designated as green belt, which could explain the volume of searches for this location.

Which Areas Are UK People Most Interested in By Bedroom Number?

The researchers also wanted to find the most popular areas by bedroom number. To make sure results were accurate, they searched various phrases someone may type in when looking for 1-bedroom places, such as ‘1 bed house for sale [location] and ‘1 bedroom house for sale [location]’.

Results were then pooled together to give a final number. This method of searching was used on properties from 1 bedroom to 5 bedrooms.

Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for 1 Bed Properties

  1. London             150
  2. Bristol               110
  3. Leicester          110
  4. Plymouth           90
  5. Southampton    80
  6. Birmingham      70
  7. Gloucester         60
  8. Leeds                  50
  9. Milton Keynes  50
  10. Nottingham       50

One bed properties are clearly not as popular in comparison to other properties across all cities, as is clear by the average monthly search volumes. However, this could be down to those searching specifically for one bed flats as opposed to properties in general.

Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for 2 Bed Properties

To be thorough in the research, all 2-bedroom property search results were pooled together to capture the various terms people may search. The search terms combined for 2-bedroom properties were:

  • 2 bed house [location]
  • 2 bed house for sale [location]
  • 2 bed [location]
  • 2 bedroom house [location]
  • 2 bedroom house for sale [location]
  • 2 bedroom house for sale in [location]
  • 2 bedroom houses for sale in [location]

This revealed the following top 10 cities:

  1. Birmingham        2,170
  2. Milton Keynes    1,840
  3. London                1,820
  4. Bristol                  1,760
  5. Plymouth            1,710
  6. Manchester        1,700
  7. Coventry             1,470
  8. Leicester             1,410
  9. Sheffield             1,370
  10. Exeter                  1,330

Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for 3 Bed Properties

Researchers combined multiple search terms regarding 3-bedroom properties including:

  • 3 bed house [location]
  • 3 bed house for sale [location]
  • 3 bedroom house [location]
  • 3 bedroom house for sale [location]
  • 3 bedroom house for sale in [location]
  • 3 bedroom house in [location]

This revealed the following top 10 cities for this bedroom number:

  1. Birmingham                4,600
  2. Coventry                     2,550
  3. Wolverhampton          2,430
  4. Manchester                 2,250
  5. Nottingham                 1,930
  6. London                        1,700
  7. Milton Keynes             1,680
  8. Leicester                      1,590
  9. Southampton              1,480
  10. Sheffield                      1,470

Three bed properties are by far the most popular searched property compared to other sized properties. It is interesting to see the majority of cities in the top 10 are mainly Midlands and Northern cities.

At the opposite end of the scale, where there was little to no search interest, were areas such as Stoke, Winchester, Bath, St Albans, and Southend. It is not surprising that areas surrounding London receive fewer searches; with close links to the capital, house prices remain high, so smaller properties may be more desirable and affordable in these areas.

Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for 4 Bed Properties

Researchers combined multiple search terms regarding 4-bedroom properties including:

  • 4 bed house [location]
  • 4 bed house for sale [location]
  • 4 bedroom house for sale [location]
  • 4 bedroom house for sale in [location]
  • 4 bedroom houses in [location]

This showed that the top 10 cities of interest for 4-beds were:

  1. Birmingham                 1,790
  2. Manchester                  1,180
  3. Leicester                       1,130
  4. Bradford                       1,120
  5. Wolverhampton          1,030
  6. Coventry                        980
  7. Milton Keynes                880
  8. Liverpool                        800
  9. London                           780
  10. Sheffield                         720

It is interesting to see how London moves down the top 10 lists as the number of bedrooms increase from 1-bed to 4-bed. This could be for of a number of reasons, including affordability for bigger properties being lower in London compared to other cities, or people seeking a family home outside of London. 

As London moves down the list, Birmingham, Bradford, and Wolverhampton remain high within the top 10, moving up the list, suggesting more suitability for family sized homes.

Top 10 Most Popular Areas People Are Looking for 5 Bed Properties

Researchers combined multiple search terms regarding 5-bedroom properties including:

  • 5 bed house for sale [location]
  • 5 bedroom house [location]
  • 5 bedroom house for sale [location]
  • 5 bedroom house for sale in [location]
  • 5 bedroom houses for sale [location]

From this, the top 10 cities were:

  1. Wolverhampton          920
  2. Birmingham                 910
  3. Manchester                  670
  4. London                         550
  5. Coventry                      480
  6. Leicester                       360
  7. Milton Keynes              330
  8. Bradford                       310
  9. Bristol                            300
  10. Nottingham                  300

5-bed properties are one of the least searched for properties throughout England, though still more popular than 1-bed properties.

Most Searches for Properties by Bedroom Number

It is clear by this research that the most searched for properties in order are:

  1. 3 bedroom properties: Birmingham  4600
  2. 2 bedroom properties: Birmingham - 2170
  3. 4 bedroom properties: Birmingham – 1790
  4. 5 bedroom properties: Wolverhampton - 920
  5. 1 bedroom properties : London - 150

As the results suggest, Birmingham is a hive of activity when it comes to peoples’ interest in properties in the area. With an average house price of £273,324, and plenty of homes available with options of urban or rural settings, it is easy to see how it gains so much attraction.

Why Does Property Type Matter?

Even though statistics show that home buying is down in July 2023 by 22% compared to July 2022, the hunt for a new home or the thought of getting a foot on the property ladder is still at the forefront of many minds.

Bird & Co’s data shows the average UK monthly search volumes for properties, city by city, meaning we are able to rank the most popular cities in order of popularity. Conducting this research can help people in many ways, including:

Aiding Financial Decision-Making

Make informed decisions about buying, selling, or investing in real estate. Understanding the value, market trends, and potential risks associated with different property types can help individuals manage their finances more effectively.

Providing Insight to Popular Housing Choices

Property type research can inform peoples’ choices about where and how they want to live. It provides insight into various housing options, such as single-family homes, flats, and more. This knowledge can help individuals and families find properties that align with their lifestyle and needs.

Community Development

Understanding the types of properties in a neighbourhood or community is crucial for assessing its overall development and quality of life. For example, finding the areas of most interest for flats and apartments could suggest built up urban living lifestyles as opposed to rural green areas, which could be important to growing families.

Provides Demand Insight

Property research can have broader economic implications. It can be helpful for investors, and urban planners, as it suggests areas where there is demand for certain property types, potentially identifying areas for commercial development.

Environmental Considerations

Different property types have varying environmental impacts. Research into property types can contribute to sustainability efforts by assessing energy efficiency, green building practices, and the environmental footprint of different types of properties.

Are You Surprised by the Most Popular Property Types and Areas in the UK?

If you are planning to sell your home and relocate to a new city in England, our experienced conveyancing solicitors can provide the assistance you need for a smooth and stress-free move and transaction.

Get in touch with our conveyancing solicitors by giving us a call or getting a quote online.

Methodology

The data presented in this study was obtained using Ahrefs, analysing Google search data from UK residents using various similar search terms to capture as much data as possible, which was then combined. The data displayed the approximate average search volume for each search term over the last 12 months.

It should be noted that, while the data was gathered from credible sources, its interpretation is solely that of the researchers at Bird & Co.

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