• Kevin Murphy

Britain: Home Buyer Preferences

In a late year 2018 survey found that more than a third of British people are not happy overall with their homes, with a quarter feeling negative as soon as they move in. And it takes up to two years for home owners to believe that they are satisfied with their home, with more than a quarter even wondering if they should have taken more time deciding on the property before moving.

The survey from Terry’s Fabrics also found that 26% of respondents said that it would cost over £20,000 to turn their house into an ideal home, whilst 40% thought that it would take upwards of £10,000.

But proving that money isn’t the only obstacle to happiness for some as 10% of home owners claimed it would be impossible to turn their house into an ideal home.

Some 35% of said they had encountered more issues than they expected when moving into a new home yet over 50% admitted they hadn’t paid for an independent survey report before buying their home, mainly due to feeling that these aren’t worth the money, and also that the basic mortgage survey had enough information.

Analysis finds that the majority of home owners would prefer to remodel than look for a new house, the survey found that a quarter would rather sell and move.

When it comes to actual problems, more than a third said that their kitchen was the room most in need of a change.

Whilst 16% would most like to change the master bedroom and 15% would ideally like to change the dining room. Woodchip is the most hated interior design feature, with 30% of Brits disliking this feature, followed by 24% naming artex walls and ceilings, 23% carpeted bathrooms, and 15% statement walls.

So what makes an ideal home for the British buyer?

Research over the years with interviews of home owners has given the industry insights what should be available in designing new and better quality of housing.

Rebecca Roberts-Hughes, Policy Manager at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) published a review of her research back in 2012 with the London School of Economics. It may be a few years ago but many of the findings are still applicable to design and construction with 2019 homes.

To make a desirable home the research found that it needs a large living area as social space but flexible for other uses besides socialising but also for entertaining guests. One homeowner commented:

“...it’s the sociability… I’d design a house so that I can fold the bed away and stuff so that I can have a party and have people over to eat, although it’s a box.”

And also have large windows allowing plenty of light another home owner commented:

“Artificial light especially in day time can be depressing."

As for older home owners the period in life when the needs of accessibility in the future.

The report found:

"The consensus reached was for a cross-industry independent body to regulate bedroom sizes, environmental performance and noise insulation in new homes. It was also thought that this group should provide free information so that consumers could compare the performance of homes.

One participant explained,

“[My friend’s] got … two bedrooms and a box room that you can’t do anything in … it does fit a single bed in but then there’s no room to do anything else in it, so it just seems like a completely pointless room.”

Another aspect found in interviewing home owners was the need for more storage space with one first-time buyer saying for storing items “we just leave it in the car."

Another family in Banbury said:

“I don’t have anywhere to put the Hoover… we don’t use the bathroom toilet downstairs. It is mainly for guests and stuff. The Hoover stays in there.”

Another survey listing the the most important things Britons want when buying a house was published by the Business Insider a few years ago with findings that the average British homebuyer would be willing to pay on average £6,297 to live closer to work or £6,900 extra to live in a safer neighbourhood.

Miguel Sard, Managing Director of Mortgages, Santander UK said:

"Homebuyers are increasingly sacrificing space for location. Some of these sought-after features come with a big price tag, so it is important that they seek advice from experts to better understand what they can and can't afford."

Other needs for buyers showed that nearly 5% included being close to sports facilities, 7% were willing to pay an average £7,532 for better accommodations for their pets and almost 8% wanted to be near their favourite pubs and restaurants. Additional needs were a private outdoor area even if its only a balcony or a small courtyard, garage or parking, access to nearby green space was wanted by 17% of homebuyers, 19% wanted to be near good schools, 27% wanted more space and as investment potential 12% would on average would pay more £10,379 to £16,432 to get a better investment.

Miguel Sard says:

"We are becoming a recreation nation as we look to minimise the amount of time we spend travelling to and from work, and maximise the time we can spend enjoying ourselves playing sports, enjoying green spaces and socialising in bars and restaurants."

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