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Work from home phrases up over 300% and four and five bed homes flourish

• Agents are responding to more buyers looking for space to work from home, with a 326% jump in use of terms ’office’, ‘workspace’ and ‘working from home’ in property listings
• There has been a jump of 90% in the number of buyers and renters searching for an outbuilding and a jump of 89% for ‘annex’ or ‘annexe’ searches
• Five bed detached houses have emerged as the biggest winners this year, with these homes finding a buyer 30 days more quickly than they did in March, followed by four bed bungalows

The demand for bigger houses with spare rooms and extra areas to work from home has led to a huge jump in agents highlighting offices and workspaces on property listings.

Between June and October this year, 28% more new properties came to market compared to the same period last year, and of all those new listings, there was an annual jump of 326% in listings that mentioned terms like ‘office’, ‘workspace’ and ‘working from home’ in the property description.

Agents have also reported an increase in demand for people looking for outbuildings and annexes where people can set up a home office, with the use of Rightmove’s keyword sort tool mirroring this trend. Home-hunters using the tool to search for ‘outbuilding’ is up 90% on this time last year, and is up 89% for ‘annex’ or ‘annexe’.  People using the tool to search for properties with ‘no chain’ is also up 110%, likely as people look to buy quickly to take advantage of the temporary  stamp duty holiday ending in March.

The desire for more space has helped four and five bed homes emerge as the biggest winners of the property market this year. Back in March, five bed detached houses were taking an average of 92 days from being first listed on Rightmove until they were marked as under offer or Sold Subject to Contract by an agent. That time has reduced by 30 days to now taking 62 days. Coming in second is four bed bungalows, going from taking 86 days to now taking 59 days, a drop of 27 days. Third on the list is four bed detached houses, followed by four bed semi-detached houses.

Rightmove’s Director of Property Data Tim Bannister said: “Over the past eight months, with the requirement for many people to work from home, we’ve seen workspaces evolving from laptops balancing on the end of the bed to fully equipped home offices in the garden shed, and everything in between.  Many home-movers have determined that their current property doesn’t offer enough space for effective home working and have been trading up – either within their local area or looking further afield for that bigger home.  Agents I’ve been speaking to have said that they’ve been inundated with requests from prospective buyers for properties with an extra reception room, an extra bedroom, or an extra building outside that they can turn into a functioning office. Working from home is here to stay for many, perhaps not full-time but certainly a few days a week, and so it looks like the trend of home-hunters settling for a make-shift place to perch a laptop seen back in March has been replaced with a more permanent need for space being added to their property checklist.”

Time to secure a buyer:


Property type

Days to secure a buyer March 2020 Days to secure a buyer October 2020 Change in number of days
5 bed detached house 92 62 -30
4 bed bungalow 86 59 -27
4 bed detached house 80 54 -26
4 bed semi-detached house 63 45 -18
3 bed bungalow 71 53 -18
3 bed detached house 69 51 -18
5 bed terraced house 74 59 -15
5 bed semi-detached house 67 53 -14
4 bed terraced house 64 50 -14
2 bed bungalow 65 53 -12


The analysis of work from home terms in property descriptions and searches using the keyword sort tool is for the period June to October 2020 versus June to October 2019. Time to secure a buyer compares March 2020 with October 2020.