First-time Buyers

Homebuyers rank gardens as primary ‘must-have’ feature

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A garden is now the top priority for UK homebuyers, according to GoCompare Home Insurance’s 2021 survey of essential residential property features.

Since the lockdowns resulting from the Covi-19 pandemic, British homebuyers have started placing more importance than ever on gardens and outdoor spaces, home entertainment and connectivity, according to research carried out by price comparison website GoCompare.

For the first time since this annual survey was introduced in 2014, more homebuyers cited having a garden as the critical deciding factor when choosing a property, knocking central heating off its traditional top spot.

Top 20 Property ‘must-haves’ in 2021

1 A garden 69
2 Central heating 67
3 Double glazing 64
4 Secure windows and doors 61
5 Good, reliable broadband 59
6 Plenty of electrical sockets 54
7 A driveway or dedicated parking space 53
8 Local shops and amenities 50
9 A good energy efficiency rating 49
10 Friendly neighbours 48
11 A strong mobile phone signal 46
12 A bath 45
13 A new boiler or central heating system 45
14 At least two toilets 45
15 A living room large enough to accommodate a large flat screen TV 45
16 A garage 41
17 A good 4G or 5G signal 39
18 A shower cubicle 39
19 A dining room 37
20 Cavity wall insulation 37

Adie from gardens, other features which gained greatly in importance were access to 4G or 5G, good reliable broadband and mobile phone signal, all ranking in the top 20. There was also a requirement for a property to have plenty of electrical sockets and, room to accommodate a large flat screen TV. In the 2014 survey only 10% of people thought the latter was important, compared with 45% in 2021.

While a home office failed to make the top 20 in the post-COVID list, the number of people referring to it as a ‘must-have’ has increased from 7% in 2014 to 18% in 2021.

A property’s kerb appeal was deemed essential by only 27% of people surveyed and, despite higher property prices in catchment areas of good schools, only 11% of potential buyers considered this important. And just one in ten potential buyers were interested in period features.

Commenting on the research, Ryan Fulthorpe, from GoCompare Home Insurance said, “Covid lockdowns have highlighted the importance of having access to green space and natural light for both our physical and mental health. So, it’s not that surprising that homes with gardens are in high demand.

“Once again, our survey has shown that potential buyers prioritise efficiency, security, and connectivity over aesthetic features. Modern buyers are more interested in features like electrical sockets, a new boiler, good insulation rather than traditional selling points such as period features, fireplaces, or conservatories.

“Connectivity is now a key deciding factor for many buyers. And, as technology forms an increasing part of every-day life – especially with many office workers expecting to continue working from home to some extent post-pandemic – people want strong, reliable connections. And plenty of plug sockets!”