Brits pay extra to be close to work

Close proximity to work is the most important factor for prospective homebuyers in the UK, according to new research from Santander Mortgages.

However, the research found that closeness to friends and family isn’t among their top 10 priorities.

The findings reveal that the 12.6 million Brits (25%) looking to buy a new home in the next five years would pay an average of £5,354 extra for the privilege of living closer to work.

Although 33% of prospective buyers said being close to work was important, having more space is the second most important factor, with 29% citing it as a priority and a privilege that they would be willing to pay an additional premium of £10,212 to enjoy.

Good public transport links were listed by 21% of prospective buyers and are worth around £3,500 extra. Some 18% say having a garage or parking space is essential, a commodity worth nearly £5,900 to the average homebuyer.

South-facing gardens are another popular choice (18%), valued at almost £3,700. However, it is the top priority for those people whose children have already grown up, with 34% of people in this group naming it.

Unsurprisingly, moving into the catchment area of a good school was much higher up the priority list for those with children aged 0-10, the section of society who will be most mobile in the next five years. It was the second highest priority for this group with 37% of them citing it, beaten only by having more space (43%).

Men are the most concerned about living close to work, with 38% of them calling it a main priority compared to just 28% of women. Women prefer having more space (37%), cited by only 22% of men.

The average buyer says they would pay over £7,800 to move to a safer neighbourhood, compared to around £7,000 for a private outdoor area, nearly £5,000 for nicer neighbours, or £3,300 to have eco-features such as solar panels fitted to the property.

Almost three million Britons (6%) plan to buy a new home in the next year and a further 3.5 million (7%) intend to buy in one to two years’ time, according to Santander’s survey, with another 13% saying they will move in two to five years time.

Phil Cliff, director of Santander Mortgages, said: “It’s fascinating to see the value that prospective buyers attach to different property features