Secrets to a happy community revealed by the nation

There’s so much to consider when buying a house – the finances, the moving date, why we’re still hanging on to that TV from 1996. Moving to a new home also often means a new neighbourhood, but what is it that us Brits value the most in our communities?

National and award-winning house builder, St. Modwen Homes, reveals the most in-demand necessities and make-or-break factors when it comes to buying a house in 2023 amongst prospective home buyers.

Nurseries – up by 100% on Google compared to previous year

New home developments are often designed to cater to growing families, so it’s no surprise that the Google search term ‘private nursery near me’ is on the rise (up 100% last 12 months). Easy access to preschool childcare is vital for many people when they’re moving home, especially those who have a young family or are planning one in future. ‘Child minder near me’ was also in demand, up 60% in the same time period, showing there’s a definite need for childcare in communities of all shapes and sizes.

Secrets to a happy community revealed by the nation image

Schools – up by 70% on Google compared to previous year

Unsurprisingly, schools are one of the top-rated amenities to have in a community. In fact, up to 1 in 4 parents who have children (of school age) have moved home for school catchment areas(1).

Terms such as ‘good primary schools near me’ (40% increase last 12 months), ‘high schools near me’ (70% increase last 12 months) and ‘ofsted outstanding schools’ (70% increase last 12 months) all indicate the need for adequate (and preferably highly rated) schools in communities. Having education for all ages near to housing developments is a must-have for prospective buyers and attracting families to the area.

Secrets to a happy community revealed by the nation image

Shops – up by 110% on Google compared to previous year

Whether it’s a corner shop where you can pick up staples or a bigger supermarket and retail park nearby, having a place close to home to grab essentials, is, well, essential! Not only is it convenient, but it also means shorter trips in the car, saving on fuel and emissions.

Other top search terms include food shops (‘Co op near me’ up 110% and ‘24hr shop near me’ up 170%, both during the last 12 months). Brits are also looking for more than just groceries to be nearby – ‘chemist near me’ increased by 250% in search volume on Google over the last 12 months, as well as ‘nearest charity shop’, up 70%.

Secrets to a happy community revealed by the nation image

Transport Links – up by 140% on Google compared to previous year

Good transport links are not just useful for getting to work or school, they help make a housing development become part of the local area. So, it’s no shock that Brits are keen to see how they can get out and about within their local community, whether that’s by bus, train, or car.

‘Bus to city centre’ jumped up by 140% in search volume, as did ‘train station’, up 200%. ‘Nearest airport’ also increased by 110% (all during the last 12 months on Google), showing it’s not just local travel people consider when moving.

Entertainment and leisure – up by 300% on Google compared to previous year

On average, each day men have 6hrs and 9minutes of leisure time, and women have 5 hours and 29 minutes(2). That includes visiting restaurants, the cinema, the library, the gym and sports venues, and of course, pubs, bars, and coffee shops.

While a housing development may not have all of these on site, having them nearby and accessible definitely ranks as a priority to people in the community. Some of the most top-valued entertainment related searches included ‘cinema near me’ (up 110%), ‘gym near me’ (up 300%) and ‘library near me’ (up 50% – all based on last 12 months).

When it comes to dining out and drinking, the most searched-for terms were ‘nearest coffee shop to me’ (170%), ‘best restaurants near me’ (150%) and ‘pubs with pool tables near me’, at 70% (based on last 12 months search data). Having great places to relax and unwind in the community are always a huge bonus, and really help make a place feel more connected.

Secrets to a happy community revealed by the nation image

Open and Green Space – up by 60% on Google compared to previous year

When moving to a new home, it’s clear the nation rates access to outdoor and green spaces as important. Having a local park, green space, woodland, or open countryside nearby helps with mental and physical wellbeing(3); no wonder people are ranking this as not just a ‘nice to have’, but a key factor in choosing their new home and community.

Searches such as ‘Best National Trust places’ (60% increase) and ‘kids outdoor play area near me’ (50% increase) were top contenders when it came to necessary outdoor spaces. And not forgetting taking care of the four-legged members of the family was also apparent, as ‘good dog walks near me’ searches rose by 70%, all in the last 12 months.

It’s clear that there really are some things the nation just can’t live without, and having them right on the doorstep is a no-brainer for 2023 house hunters. From family essentials such as schools and nurseries, to entertainment, dining and exercise, the key to a great community is unveiled, thanks to St. Modwen Homes.

Choosing a new home is just half the process of buying; finding a new community where you can thrive and enjoy life is the secret to a happy home.

To find out more about St. Modwen Homes and the range of properties available, please visit the website here.

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