5 most important factors when buying a house – according to homeowners

Jul 16th 2019

Perhaps you want to buy in the catchment area of a school in W4? Maybe you want to be near the shops and amenities in Chiswick High Road? Or maybe you want to be near the District Line or London Overground for your commute? A new poll by Broadband Choices has revealed the five most important factors for people when choosing an area to live.

Lower than average crime rates (84% of respondents)
High crime rates can impact the value of your home. Research by Goodmove shows that, of the 23 districts in England that witnessed a fall in house prices between 2017 and 2018, 83% of these also had a significant increase in the number of reported crimes. Conversely, of the 26 areas where crime fell, 85% saw a rise in prices, for the same period. While correlation doesn’t equal causation, there is a clear relationship between falling crime and an increase in average property prices.

Look at crime statistics, read back through local news, visit an area at different times of day and even talk to the neighbours or other locals, to ascertain a more granular view of where you might like to buy. You can search by postcode area at websites such as UK Crime Stats.

Good transport connections (72% of respondents)
Almost three-quarters of people said that living near good transport links was a major factor in deciding where to live. Find out about the frequency and capacity of your commute, and how much your fare will cost.

Consider that you may move jobs in the future. Being a five-minute bus ride from work may be useful now, but are the transport links good enough if you get a job? Good transport links can also be beneficial to the value of your home. Research from Nationwide back in 2014 found that a nearby tube station adds £42,000 to the price of a London house.

Fast broadband (69% of respondents)
According to the Broadband Choices poll, fast broadband is the third most important factor in choosing a new home, with more than two-thirds of respondents highlighting this. The research found that: 1) 69% of people consider fast broadband connection an important factor when choosing a new area, and 2) 78% said that a good internet connection is important to them due to accessing streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV.

In addition, 62% said they would be willing to pay more for guaranteed superfast broadband. A quarter of these said that they could increase their offer by £3,000-£5,000 and a tenth said they would increase an offer by over £5,000. You can use online tools such as the Broadband Choices regional speed test tool to establish the speed of coverage and the deals available for broadband.

Good nurseries and schools (57% of respondents)
Competition for places at the best schools can be fierce, and you will need to live in the catchment area if you want to have any chance of getting a school place for your child. You’re likely to pay a premium to live in the catchment area of a good school.

A Department for Education report revealed that buyers need to spend 8% more to buy near the best primary schools and 7% extra to live near a top secondary school. A recent study by a leading price comparison site found that the average house price in England where schools have Ofsted rating 1 is £331,605, costing almost £40,000 more than areas with Ofsted rating 2.

Close to shops and amenities (35% of respondents)
More than a third of people say that living close to shops and amenities is an important factor in their house-buying decision. Research by Lloyds suggests that having a leading supermarket near your home can boost its value.

The firm found that living near Waitrose can add £38,666 to the value of your home, representing a 10% premium on an area’s average price. Having a budget supermarket nearby can also add value, with Asda adding £5,026, Lidl adding £3,926 and Aldi adding £1,222.

Good local restaurants also increase the selling price of your home. A Prime Location survey found that having a Michelin-starred restaurant on your doorstep adds 50% to the value, although this is often because they are near other amenities such as cafés, shops and banks.

Be careful of the type of eatery. For example, being within walking distance of McDonald’s can see prices drop by up to 24%, compared to other homes in the area. This could be because it means you may be near a major road – so it might not simply be down to the restaurant itself.

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