Due to the increased mobility and transferability of jobs within the U.K., and with many employees being prepared to make a longer commute into work; the average Briton’s search radius when looking for a new home has increased significantly in the past few decades. With new developments such as the Queen Elizabeth Line and CrossRail 2 allowing for wider access to areas across the country; home buyers, arguably have a greater choice in areas in which to live. So what factors come into consideration before people up-sticks and move?
Employment opportunities ranks highly as a concern for those looking to move location. As of January, 2015, GOV.UK reported that, ‘Job vacancies have risen by 127,000 to hit a 14-year record high. There are around 700,000 job opportunities across the country, showing that the government’s long-term economic plan to back businesses and create jobs is working.’ Their graph detailing the amount of job opportunities per region made for some interesting results:
Education has always been a key concern for parents looking to move location. Online property market places such as Right Move and Zoopla now have a ‘school checker’ app, which allows people to view the property’s proximity to local schools, their Ofsted reports and whether they were under or over-subscribed.
Online property market places have a star rating system that allows buyers an idea of the crime levels of any particular area. On average, rural areas experience less crime, possibly due to a smaller population size. Although home owners are unlikely to base their choice of location solely on this aspect; it certainly factors in the decision making process when looking at nearby locations which may have a lower crime rating.
Planes, trains and road transport networks are surprisingly important to people when looking at a new location. Buyers are often put off by complicated one-way systems, heavy road traffic and areas prone to gridlock. Equally, the proximity to railways and airports is another key consideration. Home-owners are not keen to be situated next to a rail track, where the noise from passing trains causes frequent disturbances. Being directly under a flight path is another big property turn-off. However, buyers still wish for these facilities to be near enough to access without warranting a lengthy car journey.
Value for Money
The property price in relation to the location often influenced potential home owners looking to buy. Some purposefully choose to buy in a more expensive area, but choose a property in need of renovation.
Local Amenities / Shops
Local amenities and shops were often mapped by those searching for properties. A recent survey by which.co.uk ‘sampled nearly 9,500 shoppers from across the UK to discover the most popular UK shopping chains based on customers’ recommendations.’
Most Popular Chain Restaurants & Cafes in the UK
Another popular U.K. pastime seen to be important when viewing areas was the proximity of local restaurants, cafes and eateries. In a recent survey conducted by ranker.com, the most popular chain restaurants and cafes in the UK included:
Days out with the family…
The classic British holiday to the seaside is still a family favourite. On average, this has seen property prices with coastal views to be significantly higher than others in the surrounding areas. It would appear that some avid sun-seekers and surfers will factor in the proximity of the coastline into their property search, with most choosing to live less than 2 hours away.
Other popular attractions that draw people to certain cities and towns includes cultural attractions such as; art galleries, country houses & gardens, museums and castles. Also, popular family attractions such as; animal petting zoos, theme parks, aquariums, zoos and safari parks. And finally, areas of outstanding natural beauty, where there may be activities such as; forests and nature walks, wildlife reserves and outdoor pursuit centres.
In a recent survey conducted by The Daily Mail, the top U.K attractions were voted to be the following:
Proximity to a cinema
According to brandrepublic.com, ‘For the majority of cinemagoers (73%), a trip to the movies is an occasional activity. Mid-week is the most popular time to visit the cinema with 42% of cinemagoers restricting their visits to Monday-Friday. Nearly a third visit the cinema both at the weekend and during the week.’
Access to a local pub
Having a traditional English pub in which locals could meet for a pint or have their Sunday lunch ranked as an important feature to a large percentage of those looking to buy a house.
Sports facilities ranked as one of the most important factors when looking at what locations have to offer. Parents especially were keen for there to be a local pool in which their child could partake in regular swimming lessons. Pools which also had separate flumes, river rapids and other such water park activities for use at the weekends were on average more popular than those that did not. Furthermore, pools that were in a gym complex attracted more customers than those that did not.
Most Popular U.K. Sports
Although there is no fixed ‘type’ of person living in the U.K., recent statistical data has confirmed that amenities and activities are becoming an increasingly important factor for those looking to buy a home. With life becoming increasingly busy and high-pressured, entertaining oneself with ‘quieter’ activities such as; writing, painting or completing a jigsaw is often being replaced with activities such as sports, cinema and days out. The cost of living is therefore becoming greater than ever, which some families expecting more than that of a generation ago. However, it is important never to tar a whole generation with one brush. Plenty do still find time for board games, family time and the subtler pleasures in life.
Feature Image: Credit to cotswoldwaterparkhotel.co.uk