Closeness to work most important for homebuyers

Robyn Hall

July 1, 2011

The findings showl that the 12.6 million Brits (25%) looking to buy a new home in the next five years would pay an average of £5,354 extra for the privilege of living closer to work.

While a third (33%) of prospective buyers said being close to work was important, having more space is the second most important factor, with 29% citing it as a priority and a privilege that they would be willing to pay an additional premium of £10,212 to enjoy.

Good public transport links were listed by one in five prospective buyers (21%) and are worth around £3,500 extra, according to the findings. Some 18 per cent say having a garage or parking space is essential, a commodity worth nearly £5,900 to the average homebuyer.

South-facing gardens are another popular choice (18%), valued at almost £3,700. However, it is the top priority for those people whose children have already grown up, with one in three (34%) people in this group naming it.

Unsurprisingly, moving into the catchment area of a good school was much higher up the priority list for those with children aged 0-10, the section of society who will be most mobile in the next five years. It was the second highest priority for this group with 37% of them citing it, beaten only by having more space (43%).

Men are the most concerned about living close to work, with 38% of them calling it a main priority compared to just 28 per cent of women. Women prefer having more space (37%), cited by only 22% of men.

The average buyer says they would pay over £7,800 to move to a safer neighbourhood, compared to around £7,000 for a private outdoor area, nearly £5,000 for nicer neighbours, or £3,300 to have eco-features such as solar panels fitted to the property.

Almost three million Britons (6%) plan to buy a new home in the next year and a further 3.5 million (7 per cent) intend to buy in one to two years’ time, according to Santander’s survey, with another 13% saying they will move in two to five years time.

Phil Cliff, Director of Santander Mortgages, said:: “It’s fascinating to see the value that prospective buyers attach to different property features, and how these evolve as people get older and family situations change. Some of the most in-demand privileges, however, such as close proximity to the city or good schools, come with an expensive price tag. It’s therefore important that people speak to experts to ensure that their expectations are realistic and so that they get a good understanding of what they can and can’t afford.

“It’s encouraging that so many people are optimistic about buying a new home in the next few years and we are doing all we can to help these people to move with some great new mortgage products. It’s important that homebuyers get the best product for them in the long term so we would encourage prospective buyers to speak with one of our mortgage experts in branch or over the phone.”

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