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

11th March 2014 Print

Central heating, energy efficiency and home security top the nation’s list of top 20 ‘must-have’ home features, according to new research from 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.

Ben Wilson, from 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.”