Belfast Telegraph

Home, sweet home? Owners reveal their top 10 gripes

According to a new survey, the houseproud homeowner is an increasingly endangered species. Luke Rix-Standing finds out why

Property blues: 53% of people are unhappy with their homes
Property blues: 53% of people are unhappy with their homes

Luke Rix-Standing

They say a happy home comes down to who you share it with, but, according to a new survey, there are a lot of other aspects.

The research, commissioned by nested.com, found that over half of those quizzed (53%) are unhappy with where they live, citing everything from cramped interiors to poor parking.

Nationally, Leicester houses the most unsatisfied customers, with two-thirds of respondents dreaming of a move. London comes next with 65%, and Plymouth is third, with 64%.

At the other end of the scale, in Belfast, only a quarter of residents are planning to up sticks in search of the perfect pad, followed by 40% in Edinburgh, and just under half in Brighton.

Nested spokesperson Ben Bailey, says: "As a nation, we're unsatisfied with where we live, and the majority of us are planning on moving again to bag the property of our dreams."

Wondering what's making us such an unhappy-with-our-homes bunch? Here are the top 10 causes, along with the percentage of people who agreed with these factors, according to the survey...

1. Size (57%)

For many people in the UK, a spacious home is a bucket-list item, but homes here started shrinking in the 1970s and have been getting smaller ever since. According to research by LABC Warranty, the average Seventies living room clocked in at 24.89m2, which became 21.33m2 in the Nineties, and just 17.09m2 today. The people have spoken: Size matters.

2. Number of bedrooms (53%)

Room-related quibbles take up our second spot too, and the number of bedrooms is apparently almost as important as how large they are. Recent history shows a similarly downward trend - from a peak 3.58 bedrooms per household in the 1980s, the modern UK home now averages fewer than three.

3. Location (52%)

For many, it's still all about location, location, location. And it's not just a mantra for estate agents - location has long topped the wish lists for house hunters. In a 2015 survey by Santander, a third of the UK public said that being close to work was their number one residential priority - ahead of space, investment potential, and even being near family.

4. Price (50%)

Money talks, but these days it's practically shouting. Government stats released in June showed the average UK house price was upward of £230,000, while roughly half of all wealth in the UK is tied up in property, far and away the highest in the G7. Compared with our American and European cousins, we like to own rather than rent, and value houses over flats. That may be fine if you got on the property ladder in 1980. In 2019, not so much.

5. Proximity to green spaces (46%)

Cited by nearly half of all respondents, it appears the public is finally waking up to the power of a daily dose of green. Earlier this year, a joint study by the universities of Newcastle, Warwick and Sheffield found that living within 300m of green space was more vital to mental wellbeing than the usual factors like income.

6. Parking (38%)

This one's a no-brainer: If your car is your primary transport, you're pretty stumped if there's nowhere to put it. Expect this figure to fall as private car ownership slowly gives way to car clubs, congestion charges, and better public transport.

7. Access to public transport (31%)

On the other side of the coin, public transport is creeping up in popularity. Official 2018 figures clocked a record 270 million journeys by tram or light rail, while the 1.71 billion National Rail journeys represents a 149% rise since 1985.

8. Proximity to good schools (29%)

Often the given reason for urban families moving to suburb or countryside, being near a good school ranks pretty high.

9. Local job prospects (23%)

Some people get a job and have to move, but others move and then have to get a job. We reckon this one speaks for itself: No job, no money for a nice house.

10. Layout (19%)

Open-plan isn't for everyone, while others find a labyrinthine network of rooms and corridors to be claustrophobic and constricting.

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