The search is on: Britain's Post-Pandemic Forever Home Revealed

  • Property market hots up as over half of homeowners want to find their Forever Home, with two in three hoping to buy it in the next five years
  • The average homeowner is willing to put nearly half a million pounds towards their Forever Home, with 79 per cent of properties bought with the intention of renovating
  • Channel 4’s ’Amazing Spaces’ architect Laura Jane Clark shares her top tips on how to find and create a Forever Home

According to new research from Barclays Mortgages, the pandemic has supercharged our search for the dream property, with over half of homeowners (53 per cent) bringing forward their plans to find their Forever home.

When asked, British homeowners described their Forever Home as a detached property with at least three bedrooms, allowing for a spare room to comfortably accommodate guests. Meanwhile, after being cooped up inside for the best part of a year, we cherish space along with a garage and a large garden.

Top ten features British homeowners look for in their Forever Home:

1. Off-road parking (46%)
2. At least three bedrooms (46%)
3. Garage (42%)
4. At least one spare bedroom (42%)
5. Garden terrace/patio area (41%)
6. A large garden (40%)
7. En-suite (35%)
8. Good storage solutions (34%)
9. At least two bathrooms (33%)
10. Entertaining space (27%)

Commenting on the findings, Laura Jane Clark says: “Making a house your Forever Home is a property dream for many. This research from Barclays shows British homeowners have a strong idea of the core elements they want in their Forever Home. This is a great place to start. When you’ve found the foundations of your dream home that make it right for you, you can add to it over time to make it truly your own.”

Location, location, location

The pandemic may also have had a lasting effect over how we view our dream location, with a busy urban life bottom of the list of requirements for a Forever Home. Instead, in a bid for more peace and quiet, a tranquil seaside neighbourhood is now the ideal location.

The research from Barclays further revealed that proximity to local shops, outdoor spaces and friends and family members are the most important location factors for British homeowners when finding their home for life.

The price is right

Homeowners are prepared to cough up the cash, with almost a quarter willing to pay nearly £200,000 more than the average UK house price on their dream home. In fact, they admitted to happily spending over £450,000 on the property and additional renovation costs to make it a home they want to spend the rest of their lives in. This comes as 8 in 10 homeowners purchased a forever home that required work. But it’s those aged 18-24 who are willing to pay the highest price at more than £750,000.

Laura Jane Clark continues: “I speak to so many people who have the notion that they’ll just ‘know’ a property is for them; that as soon as they enter a property that they’ll get a wave of certainty that this is ‘the one’. Yet more often than not, a Forever Home is one that you grow into.

“It’s not impossible to completely transform a house with something like a loft conversion or kitchen renovation to create those double doors looking out to the back garden for when your family comes over.”

According to the architect

  1. Always think about the potential – When you are looking for your Forever Home, rather than focusing on what you need right now, keep your mind open to what you can do with a property in five, ten or twenty years’ and what you may want and need in the future.
  2. Finding and creating your Forever Home takes time – don’t rush – Enjoy the process of making your house a home. Find out where the areas are that you naturally gravitate to, where the sunspots are and how the light falls throughout the day. By living in your home for a while, you can work out the elements you want to keep and find what is lacking and allow your vision to adapt and your plans to crystallise.
  3. Include how you want to feel in your Forever Home wish list – Rather than fixating on items such as a kitchen island or a walk-in wardrobe, think about how you want to feel in your home because ultimately, this is what matters. If your dream is having a large family meal with children running in and out of a sunny garden, then try to see past the old peeling kitchen worktop to the potential kitchen dining room that could be created with what you have.
  4. Grow with your home – Sometimes your Forever Home is right under your nose! Rather than looking elsewhere, look for the opportunities in your current place to renovate or remodel. Whether it’s adding in a loft conversion or renting out your top floor to a lodger, look for opportunities to grow with your home.
  5. Location, location, location – It’s an old one but a good one. For me, I always wanted to find somewhere that was both walkable to a nursery school and a good coffee shop. However, my desires have since changed, and a well stocked garden-centre now seems more appealing! Look at how close you are to family and friends, outdoor spaces, transport links and local amenities. Location is crucial, again not just for right now, but think about what you might need want and need in five, ten, twenty years’ time. All these factors make a good home a forever one.

Barclays has a range of mortgage products available to help Brits when purchasing their Forever Home. This includes the green mortgage for first time buyers, family springboard mortgages and fixed rate mortgages.