COVID-19 UK: Housing and Renovation

Base: 1000 UK app-based citizens

Male/Female: 30%/70%

18-24/25-34/35-44/45-54/55+: 13%/44%/27%/12%/5%

Using the CitizenMe platform, we went out to our COVID-19 community, which is an open-data research project designed to enable the world's citizens to share real-time opinions and data about COVID-19 with the institutions fighting the Epidemic. 

Key Results:

Within our sample, we have a split between people who are either living with parents, renting or are homeowners. As one would surmise, homeownership increases with both age and a change in circumstance:

Housing Market Suspension

On the whole, the UK is in agreement that during this crisis the housing market should be suspended

There are a few groups that seem to show more disagreement: those who are in the process of some sort of move (selling, buying or renting);  and those who are renting short term. This disagreement may be attributable to those individuals who are more likely to be changing their housing type, or are in the midst of a move. 

Those renting with a short term lease are also more likely to buy a new home or look for a new longer-term renting situation. These individuals may well be the ones most affected by the decision to suspend the housing market:

Those Changing Ownership of Property

During this epidemic, there are still individuals looking to change their property ownership. However, this is a small percentage of our representative sample of the UK population. A change in property ownership is a significant financial decision so encountering difficulties in attempting to do so must add yet another layer of stress to an already stressful time.


Within our sample, since the COVID-19 pandemic, around 9% of those who are currently renting were looking to change their rental property; 78% of these individuals say they are having difficulty. The main problem is that they are in limbo and need to negotiate with 2 landlords:

Selling a Property

Within our sample, since the COVID-19 pandemic, around 7% of homeowners were looking to sell their property; 71% of these individuals say they are having difficulty. The main problem they are encountering is that no one is able to visit and view their property right now:

Buying a New Property

Within our sample, since the COVID-19 pandemic, around 7% said they were currently in the market to purchase a new property; 71% of these individuals say they are having difficulty. The main problem they encountered was something outside of what we asked, i.e. 30% answered ‘none of the above’. We are investigating this further, but for those questions we did ask, the majority of issues were external factors such as difficulties with lawyers, Government agencies and those in a chain:

House Renovations

Each year millions of people update or improve their homes for all sorts of reasons. During this pandemic, there has been some confusion/grey area around construction and external teams helping with renovations. The need for social distancing is contrary to teams sometimes needing access to the home. Having to self-isolate in a home in the midst of abandoned renovation works is just one example of many which must increase the anxiety/discomfort of property owners. 

Within our UK sample, around 4 out of 10 people were looking to have some sort of renovation done this year, but this had been affected by the pandemic:

Within those that said their renovations had been affected by COVID-19, there were 2 main reasons for this. The  first was not having the professionals available to carry out the works, causing the renovations to be postponed. Inevitably, this brings into play a number of unknowns for both the consumer and the tradesmen. The second reason affecting renovations was consumers now not being able to afford the works. We have found that around 40% of our representative sample of the UK population is experiencing some negativity in their job. Spending on something that might not be seen as essential is now taking a back seat for other priorities:


People are not yet able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, with 65% saying that it will take at least 6 months before the housing market will recover. This will adversely affect a lot of industries, and we could see some big changes in the way people purchase/view houses:

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