National estate agent Jackson-Stops and award-winning housebuilder Crest Nicholson Regeneration have analysed the views of more than 2,000 UK adults to unveil the most sought-after community and new home features for prospective buyers.
Key community building blocks
The research has revealed that sustainability is key for home buyers with the majority (92%) saying a community that is sustainable is important when determining where to live.
Quality infrastructure plays a leading role in building sustainable communities and is a top priority for people when determining where to purchase a new home. Amenities such as local shops and businesses (98%), green space and parks (96%) and walking paths (92%) are the most sought-after community assets for Britons. These assets are so crucial to homebuying decisions that half (50%) of those surveyed stated that they would be willing to postpone moving into their home if it meant that all the supporting infrastructure such as businesses, shops, amenities and schools were in place.
Home buyers also value intangible assets with nine in ten looking for a strong sense of community (91%), and three quarters (75%) regarding a strong link to the history and heritage of the area as important. Planning can also go a long way towards satisfying home buyers with diverse communities (73%), and a mix of affordable and open market housing options (60%) also high on the new community checklist.
In comparison, two in five (41%) parents with children under 18 years old prioritise living near an Ofsted rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ school in their next home move. Interestingly, only 6% said that it would be crucial that their next home was located in a ‘desired’ postcode district, which, much like homes in close proximity to ‘outstanding’ rated schools, can achieve significant price premiums.
UK buyers’ dream home features
The research shows that 95% of UK house hunters also want a home that is sustainable in terms of its features. More than two in five (43%) of the UK adults surveyed cited private outdoor space as their top priority, while a fifth (20%) would most like to see either energy efficient features or electric car charging points installed in or near to their home.
Interestingly, almost seven in ten (68%) people are looking for their ‘forever home’, a property in which they will grow old, when they buy their next property, so it should come as no surprise that the layout of their home is of importance to almost all respondents (98%).
When asked what they would do with a spare room, Brits are exposed as practical homeowners, with over a fifth (22%) looking to use it as a guest bedroom, while 17% would like to use the room as an office, in line with the rising trend of professionals choosing to work from home. Homeowners do also like to use their spare room for more creative or physical purposes however, with more than a quarter (26%) stating that they would transform their spare room into either a games room, gym, yoga or meditation space, cinema room, bar area or a crafts room.
Scott Black, Managing Director at Crest Nicholson Regeneration, said: “As a business we are focused on delivering thriving and sustainable new communities which are inclusive for everyone. This requires a diverse range of house types, sizes and tenures. It also requires the supporting social and physical infrastructure delivered alongside the new homes that allows a new community to flourish and prosper. With more people saying they are choosing to hold off moving or purchasing homes until the supporting infrastructure is in place, we are prioritising the delivery of community assets like new schools, transport links, shops, cafes and green open space that contribute to a sense of place at the same time as delivering the new homes. These supporting facilities become the foundations on which the new residents build their new community.”
“In addition, we are working closely with our partners to ensure that we have a wide mix of affordable, rental, shared ownership and open market housing in a range of sizes so that anyone can choose to live in the new communities we build. This approach ensures a balanced community and at the same time accelerates occupation and delivery rates which is good both commercially and socially. We are already seeing the success of this model reflected in our Regeneration developments at Arborfield Green, Upper Longcross, Campbell Wharf, Centenary Quay, and Bath Western Riverside to name but a few.”
Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, comments: “Despite the continuous disturbance within the political sphere, the property market is bouncing back as buyers start to realise that now is as good a time as any to make a move. However, we are finding that they are becoming far more particular than ever before about not only the home in which they are looking to buy, but also its surroundings – from their neighbours to the amount of green space and infrastructure accessible from their doorstep. In this current climate, they want to be certain in their decision and if a property doesn’t have outdoor space or a private or dedicated parking for example it’s a ‘no deal’ from them. These buyers are also looking for a property with longevity, with 68% stating that they are looking for their ‘forever’ home.”