What we really look for when buying a home

Close to work, good transport links and room to swing a cat

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A short commute to work, having more space and being near a good school are at the top of home buyers' wish-lists, research suggests.

One in three people (33%) planning to buy a home in the next five years said the closeness of the property to work was a main priority, according to the survey for Santander.

While this was the factor cited most often by those surveyed, people were more likely to pay a big premium for a home if they thought it had good investment potential, the research found.

The average extra amount that people were prepared to pay if they thought a home had good investment potential was £10,379, whereas the typical premium people would pay for having a home which was well-located for work was £6,297.

Another factor which people would be likely to pay more for was extra space. People said they would pay £10,207 more on average for a home which had this.

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Some 28% of people surveyed said closeness to public transport links was a priority, while 27% said more space was important, 19% wanted to be within the catchment area of a good school and 17% said that proximity to a green space was a priority.

Living near to pubs, bars or restaurants or in an "up and coming" area appeared to be less of a main priority, with only 8% and 2% of potential home buyers respectively mentioning these factors.

Meanwhile, just 3% of people planning to buy a home saw being near to friends as a priority.

The Santander study surveyed more than 2,000 people, of which 26% were planning to buy a home in the next five years.

The findings come at a time when a string of recent studies have reported a shortage of homes on the market for buyers to choose from.

Property website Rightmove reported this week that across England and Wales, sellers' average asking prices increased to an all-time high of £294,351 in June.

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Last week, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) reported that an "acute shortage of supply" of homes for sale is continuing to push house prices higher - and said its findings suggest that property values are expected to increase by another 25% over the next five years.

Here are the main priorities for people planning to buy a new home in the next five years, according to Santander, with the percentage of people who cited a particular factor as a main priority followed by the average extra premium that people would be willing to pay for this factor, among those who were willing to pay more:

:: Proximity to work, 33%, £6,297

:: Proximity to public transport links, 28%, £4,925

:: More space, 27%, £10,207

:: Catchment area of a good school, 19%, £6,275

:: Proximity to green space, 17%, £5,969

:: Garage/parking space, 15%, £7,682

:: Proximity to shops, 15%, £6,388

:: South-facing garden, 12%, £5,413

:: Good investment potential, 12%, £10,379

:: Access to a private outdoor area, 11%, £7,548

:: A strong broadband signal, 10%, £5,529

:: Proximity to family members, 9%, £8,863

:: Proximity to pubs, bars or restaurants, 8%, £7,129

:: Space for pets, 7%, £7,532

:: A safer neighbourhood, 7%, £6,921

:: Proximity to sports facilities, 5%, £5,889

:: Nicer neighbours, 4%, £5,940

:: Eco features on the property, 4%, £6,345

:: Proximity to friends, 3%, £7,402

:: In an "up and coming" area, 2%, £7,503

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