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Gardens top UK Property Must-Have list for first time thanks to COVID

Buyers rank their top 20 essential home features   

  • Other big movers: plenty of electrical sockets and lounge big enough for large TV.
  • Connectivity is king with strong broadband, mobile phone signal and 4G or 5G now deemed home essentials.
  • Annual survey reveals how pandemic has changed homebuyer priorities.
  • Just one in ten potential buyers are interested in period features.

A garden is now the number one property ‘must-have’ for UK house buyers, according to   GoCompare Home Insurance’s 2021 survey of essential home features.1.

The research follows successive COVID lockdowns that have forced people to spend more time learning, working, and playing at home and the results reflect the increasing importance Brits now place on gardens and outdoor spaces, connectivity and home entertainment. 

For the first time this year, gardens are the ‘must-have’ property feature – knocking central heating, off the top spot.  Going back to the first ever UK Property Must-Haves survey in 2014, gardens were fourth on the list.2.

Top 20 Property ‘must-haves’ in 2021
1A garden69
2Central heating67
3Double glazing64
4Secure windows and doors61
5Good, reliable broadband59
6Plenty of electrical sockets54
7A driveway or dedicated parking space53
8Local shops and amenities50
9A good energy efficiency rating49
10Friendly neighbours48
11A strong mobile phone signal46
12A bath45
13A new boiler or central heating system45
14At least two toilets45
15A living room large enough to accommodate a large flat screen TV45
16A garage41
17A good 4G or 5G signal39
18A shower cubicle39
19A dining room37
20Cavity wall insulation37

While features such as central heating, double glazing and secure doors and windows have retained roughly the same importance over the years, other big movers in the 2021 survey highlighted the importance of technology in the home, with 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.

Baths and showers remain in the top 20 essential features, but their importance has reduced since 2014, with baths falling from 9th to 12th position, and showers plummeting from 5th to 18th place. Cavity wall insulation also fell in importance from 12th to 20th position.  En-suite bathrooms, open fireplaces, sheds and home security systems all dropped out of the top 20 ‘must-have’ features.   

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.  

GoCompare Home Insurance is warning home buyers that buildings insurance should also be on their property must-have list.  Buildings insurance covers the cost of repairing damage to the structure of a building.  Legally, buyers become responsible for a property on exchange contracts – rather than the day they move in.  Therefore, to protect their financial interest against any damage to the building, buildings insurance should be in place from that date.  

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!”

For more information on buildings insurance visit:  https://www.gocompare.com/home-insurance/buildings-insurance/


For further information please contact:

Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845

Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter; @GoCompare

Notes to editors

1On 21 May 2021, an online survey of 2,024 randomly selected Great British adults was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.1%. The results have been weighted by age, gender, region and social grade to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Great Britain. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

2On 7th February 2014, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 2,019 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panellists.  The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About GoCompare

GoCompare is a comparison website that enables people to compare the costs and features of a wide variety of insurance policies, financial products and energy tariffs.

It does not charge people to use its services and does not accept advertising or sponsored listings, so all product comparisons are unbiased. GoCompare makes its money through fees paid by the providers of products that appear on its various comparison services when a customer buys through the site.

When it launched in 2006, it was the first comparison site to focus on displaying policy details rather than just listing prices, with the aim of helping people to make better-informed decisions when buying their insurance. It is this approach to comparing products that secured the company an invitation to join the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) in 2008, and it is still the only comparison site to be a member of this organisation.

GoCompare has remained dedicated to helping people choose the most appropriate products rather than just the cheapest and works with Defaqto, the independent financial researcher, to integrate additional policy information into a number of its insurance comparison services. This allows people to compare up to an extra 30 features of cover.

GoCompare is part of Future Plc and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

More information can be found here www.gocompare.com or here https://www.futureplc.com/brands/.