Fast broadband and energy efficiency are the new ‘home essentials’

11 March 2014
  • Efficient central heating systems, double glazing, and secure doors and windows top UK home-buyers’ lists of ‘must-have’ home features.
  • House-hunters opt for good broadband connection over friendly neighbours, gardens rather than garages, and showers as opposed to baths.
  • Broadband is now seen by many as the ‘fourth utility’ alongside gas, electricity and water.

Central heating, energy efficiency and home security top the nation’s list of top 20 ‘must-have’ home features, according to new research from Gocompare.com Home Insurance, while more than half say that a good broadband connection is now an ‘essential’.

Today’s house-hunters are more likely to be sold on the idea of properties with an efficient central heating system (73%), double glazing (72%) and secure doors and windows (71%), than characterful features. Only 9% of those surveyed said that if they were looking to buy a house, they would consider period features to be essential.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency was a key theme running through the survey - across all the regions. As well as an effective central heating system and double glazing, the top ten property essentials include a good energy efficiency rating (54%) and cavity wall insulation (48%).

Online vs real-life community

Access to the internet was ranked highly, with more people considering a good broadband connection (54%) more important than local shops and amenities (52%) or friendly neighbours (48%) – perhaps preferring to spend more time with their online community than in their local neighbourhood. Welsh residents were particularly concerned about access to a good broadband connection, with 65% saying it was a necessity. Londoners rated local shops and amenities the highest, with 60% saying that they were essential criteria in looking for a new home, and residents of Wales (53%) and Yorkshire and The Humber (53%) were the most concerned about friendly neighbours. A strong mobile phone signal (34%) also made the top 20 list and was rated more highly by Londoners (43%) than people living elsewhere in the UK.

Only a fifth of those surveyed said access to good local schools was an essential factor in buying a new home. Schools mattered most to people living in the Yorkshire and The Humber region, with a quarter of respondents considering them a priority.  

Garden or garage? Bath or shower?

The home ‘must-haves’ survey suggests that people favour green spaces over tarmac, with more considering a garden (68%) an essential compared with off-road parking (54%) or a garage (41%). When it comes to bathroom preferences, showers topped the list with 61% of respondents considering a shower a ‘must’ in a new home compared with just over half (53%) who deemed a bath to be an essential item. And just 29% said that an en-suite bathroom was a ‘must-have’ room, with people living in Wales (34%) and Scotland (34%) giving the highest priority to en-suite washing facilities.

 

Rank

 

Top 20 ‘must-have’ features

 

%

Region(s) giving highest priority to this feature

 

%

1

An efficient central heating system

73

Yorkshire & The Humber

81

2

Double glazing

72

Yorkshire & The Humber

79

3

Secure windows and doors

71

Yorkshire & The Humber

77

4

A garden

68

East

76

5

A shower

61

Scotland

Wales

Yorkshire & The Humber

65

6

Good broadband connection

54

Wales

65

7

Off-road parking

54

East Midlands

67

8

A good energy efficiency rating

54

East Midlands

Wales

63

9

A bath

53

Yorkshire & The Humber

60

10

Local shops and amenities

52

London

60

11

Friendly neighbours

48

Wales

Yorkshire & The Humber

53

12

Cavity wall insulation

48

East Midlands

62

13

A garage

41

North East

52

14

A cooker

40

Yorkshire & The Humber

51

15

A dining room

39

South West

47

16

Good mobile phone signal

34

London

43

17

An en-suite bathroom

29

Wales

Scotland

34

18

A fireplace

24

Yorkshire & The Humber

34

19

A working home security system/burglar alarm

23

Yorkshire & The Humber

33

20

A shed

21

East Midlands

Yorkshire & The Humber

26

Ben Wilson, from Gocompare.com Home Insurance, commented: “Our research suggests that today’s potential home-buyers are putting practical concerns ahead of aesthetics by looking for properties which are cosy, energy efficient and secure, rather than full of character. With ever increasing gas and electricity prices, fuel and financial economy are a concern for many households, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that well-insulated homes and efficient central heating systems are key priorities for buyers.

“The important role technology plays in our everyday lives – from interaction on social media to online shopping - also shone through the survey with access to a good broadband connection and mobile phone signal making it into the top 20 ‘must-have’ home features. Good internet access is now seen by many as the ‘fourth utility’ alongside mains gas, electricity and water.” 

Gocompare.com has produced an infographic looking at what buyers want from a prospective home: http://www.gocompare.com/home-insurance/property-hot-and-nots/

property-hot-and-nots-thumbnail

 

   -ends-

Notes to editors:

*On 7th February 2014, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 2,019 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panellists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.