The 5 Most Important Factors When Buying a House – According to Homeowners

Posted 15 July 2019 by Nick Parkhouse

A new survey has revealed the five key factors that homebuyers consider when choosing where to live. Here’s your guide…

What factors impact your decision on where to buy a home?

Perhaps you want to buy a house in the catchment area of a good school? Maybe you want to be near shops and amenities? Or maybe you want to be near a bus or train route to ease your commute?

A new poll by Broadband Choices has revealed the five most important factors for people when choosing an area to live in. Keep reading to find out more.

Lower than average crime rates (84% of respondents)

High crime rates can impact the value of your home. Research by Goodmove shows that, across England, where crime falls, property prices rise and where crime rises, property prices fall.

Of the 23 districts in England that witnessed a fall in house prices between 2017 and 2018, 83% of these districts also had a significant increase in the number of reported crimes. Conversely, of the 26 areas where crime fell, 85% saw a rise in house prices, from 2017 to 2018.

While correlation doesn’t equal causation, there is a clear relationship between falling crime and an increase in average property prices.

Property expert Paul Telford told the Daily Express: “While price is always one of the initial criteria when deciding where to buy, the safety of an area is right up there in the decision-making process, particularly for those either starting or already with a young family.

“We recommend looking at crime statistics, reading back through local news, visiting an area at different times of day and even talking to the neighbours or other locals, to ascertain a more granular view of where you might like to buy.”

Websites such as UK Crime Stats can help you research crime statistics in a certain postcode area.

Good transport connections (72% of respondents)

If you have to commute to work, finding a location that offers an easy commute is important, particularly if you don't drive. Almost three-quarters of people said that living near good transport links was a major factor in deciding where to live.

Research how frequent and how busy any buses or trains are, and how much your fare will cost. If you'll be commuting into a city, fares tend to be more expensive if you live further away, but property prices generally get cheaper.

Consider also 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 in a new part of the city, or a new town altogether?

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, a Manchester Metrolink stop adds £12,000, while if you live close to a Glasgow rail station you could see your property value rise by £9,400.

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:

  • 69% of people consider fast broadband connection an important factor when choosing a new area to live in
  • 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 a home that is guaranteed to have a superfast broadband connection. A quarter of these said that they could increase their offer by £3,000-£5,000 and 10% said they would increase an offer by over £5,000.

Mark Pocock, home communication expert at Broadband Choices, says: “Moving to a new house can be a problematic and stressful time, and these results emphasise how crucial a reliable and fast broadband connection can be to reduce any further needless roadblocks in the way of a smooth transition to a new area. 

“Without an internet connection, many can feel disconnected and inconvenienced, meaning it is an essential requirement for many homeowners, and ensuring an area and a new house can provide this before committing to a purchase should certainly be considered as an aspect to research when house hunting.”

You can use online tools such as the Broadband Choices regional speed checker to establish the speed of internet coverage in a specific area, as well as the deals available for broadband in your chosen location.

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.

Demand for properties in certain areas can therefore be high, and 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.

And, it can be good for your property value. Research by Lloyds suggests that having a leading supermarket near your home can boost its value. The bank 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.

Even having a budget supermarket nearby can add value, with Asda adding £5,026, Lidl adding £3,926 and Aldi adding £1,222.

Good local restaurants can 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 the fault of the restaurant itself.


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