New homes

Homebuyers Want Gardens – Sellers Should Improve Theirs

April 9th 2022
Garden in sunlight

It is fair to say homebuyer behaviour has shifted a bit in recent times. The impact of the pandemic and lockdowns has changed a lot of people’s priorities.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to see that garden space is more important for buyers. A study by a leading building society, The Cumberland, said that over 80% of first-time buyers prioritise having a garden in their new home. They also say that the garden is the first area of the property they want to improve or upgrade when they move in.

This isn’t a surprise to us at Thomas Morris. We work closely with buyers, and we know the majority of people are looking for a space they can enjoy time outside.

Former principal chairman of BBC Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time, Eric Robson OBE spoke about the findings, saying; “We've seen this put into sharp focus by the pandemic and the lockdowns, that here is a bit of precious space for people who, if they didn't have a garden, would be hemmed in. It is increasingly acknowledged that gardens have great benefits for mental health, for keeping people on the straight and narrow at difficult times. I'm sure that is one of the reasons that the number has gone up.”

Eric Robson also said; “Gardening has had a reputation in the past of being for older people, rather a fuddy-duddy activity. Increasingly I was finding on Gardeners Question Time the age profile of the audience was shifting, more younger people were getting into gardening. People were getting into gardening at an earlier stage in their lives.”

Benefits of having a good garden

There are many reasons why homeowners should cultivate a garden, including:

  • A garden provides people with space to sit outside
  • A garden area offers the chance to exercise, socialise and relax
  • Many people use their garden to be more self-sustaining
  • A garden brings joy if it is pleasant to look at
  • Some gardens increase the value of property

Current Gardeners' Question Time panellist Bunny Guinness said; “It's all about having that space isn't it? The Brits have always been big on that but it's just gone massive now. They want more of it and they want to use it better. It's at the top of everybody's minds because we are spending so much more time there. We've always really tried to max out our kitchens and our living rooms and we are now expanding that out into the garden. It's just the best place to keep your sanity and it can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It improves the value of your house as well and we all love that.”

Saving for a deposit is essential for first-time buyers

Aside from asking buyers about their garden, the survey spoke to first-time buyers about their deposit. Some of their key findings were:

  • 40% of respondents took less than a year to save what they needed
  • 51% of respondents received help from their family to save their deposit
  • 25% of respondents said they didn’t have to cut back on their normal spending

Jack Green, The Cumberland's area manager for mortgages, adds: “We're thrilled that so many people got involved with the survey - and the results really are an interesting read. It's great to find out that a third of those who took part in our survey thought buying their first home was easier than they had expected. Although it's no surprise that being in a chain and having initial offers rejected were two things first time buyers found challenging. Understandably, 25 per cent said their biggest source of support came from family, but we were delighted to discover that 38% said their mortgage advisor and lender were hugely helpful.”

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