Ask a Londoner to describe their dream home and you may well expect a long list of fantastical and luxurious wants from country mansions with tennis courts and swimming pools, to penthouses in Mayfair with a concierge and well-being suite.
However, the findings of a new study published today reveals that homebuyers in this pandemic era are far more practical than pretentious.
According to a Rightmove poll, a Londoner’s dream home is a four-bedroom detached house in a coastal village with four bedrooms, two living rooms and two bathrooms. Clearly homeowners long for a bathroom to themselves which they don’t have to share with children, bath toys or even their partner.
The Covid-19 pandemic and multiple lockdowns, with the possible threat of more winter lockdowns to come, has driven a spike in demand for more indoor and outdoor square footage and a detached home to keep neighbours at a distance.
When it comes to extra rooms, the humble garage ranked as the most important with the games room coming in a lowly 10th. A utility (or boot room) was second followed by a home office – which is hardly surprising following the mass working-from-home shift which looks set to stay for part of the week.
A cosy cottage came second in the ‘dream home’ survey with those aged 25 upwards opting for a costal village. Those aged between 18 and 24 chose an inland village or town.
“Usually you might think a dream home is a mansion with swimming pools and other luxuries, but a sense of thinking practically comes through really clearly [in this survey] with garages, utility rooms and home offices the order of the day,” says Tim Bannister of Rightmove.
“Perhaps it’s the thought that if you have a dream home you want to make sure you’re going to make use of everything. Rather than choosing an outdoor swimming pool only to realise you can only use it for a few weeks of the year, you think of a utility room you’ll be using every day.”
The study also exposes a divide between Londoners and the rest of Britain. Although the dream property is the same across the nation, those in the capital and south east have more discerning tastes when it comes to amenities close to home.
Those polled who live in the capital chose the more upmarket Waitrose brand over Tesco as their favourite supermarket to have nearby and also favour a foodie market as the top local amenity – even over the pub. A coffee shop and a corner shop were the other two neighbourhood must-haves for Londoners.