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Location is still important for home buyers in the UK with new research suggesting that a short commute to work and having access to sports facilities, green space, bars and restaurants are increasingly important. The research has also found that home buyers would pay a premium for peace of mind, stumping up £7,000 to move to a safer neighbourhood along with an extra £5,900 for living alongside nicer neighbours. And the home itself is becoming less important, with decreases in those valuing having more space, a garage or parking space, a south facing garden or private outdoor area, according to the survey from Santander Mortgages. Cutting the daily commute is the most important factor for home buyers, with 33% looking to buy a home citing closeness to work as essential and 28% naming proximity to public transport as a key factor, more than any other categories. House hunters are increasingly looking to maximise their free time by buying properties near leisure facilities, with increases in the number of those naming proximity to bars and restaurants since the research was last conducted in 2011 at 8%, up from 6%. Those wanting sports facilities increased from 2% to 5%. In contrast, features inside the home are becoming less important to prospective home buyers, with decreases in those valuing more space down from 29% to 27%. Having a garage or parking was down from 18% to 15%, a south facing garden fell from 18% to 12% and a private outdoor area from 14% to 11%. Those seeking to buy are also shunning their nearest and dearest in favour of increasing the quantity and quality of their leisure time, with closeness to family and friends both seeing decreases in the percentage of home buyers who see them as essential. While moving into an area with strong broadband signal has increased in importance over the past four years, it is still only an essential factor for 10% of home movers. ‘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,’ said Miguel Sard, managing director of mortgages for Santander UK. The findings also reveal 26% are looking to buy a new home in the next five years. On average they would pay £6,297 extra to live closer to work. The average buyer would pay over £6,900 to move to a safer neighbourhood, a 4% premium on the average UK house price. This compares to around £6,400 to be close to shops, £5,900 for nicer neighbours and over £6,300 to have eco-features such as solar panels, nearly twice what they would have paid four years ago. Continue reading →
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