Staple of suburbia tops poll for England?s favourite house type

New research from CABE (the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) reveals that the humble bungalow has been usurped by the detached house to become England ‘s favourite house type.

The research conducted by MORI for CABE, reveals that over half the population want to live in a detached house, compared to 22% who preferenced a bungalow, 14% a semi-detached house and 7% a terraced house. The detached house was the most popular choice for the public, regardless of social status or ethnicity.

This follows a similar poll conducted by CABE in 2002, which revealed that the bungalow was the public’s favoured house type, followed by the village house.

A new CABE report ‘What Home Buyers Want’ , draws on a range of recent opinion surveys and sets out what we know about what homebuyers want and compares this with the supply of housing planned for the future. The findings reveal a significant gap between the current preferences of homebuyers and the vision of planners and architects, such as Richard Rogers. While supply is currently planned around a model of higher density living in a ‘compact city’, the overwhelming majority of homebuyers still want to live in a suburban dwelling.

Richard Simmons, Chief Executive of CABE, commenting on the findings, said:

We have a long history of suburban living in England . It’s been a common aspiration for several generations. CABE’s latest report shows that most people still want to live in detached homes outside our cities and towns, which they perceive to be safer. The challenge for us is how we reconcile this consumer preference with the need to build more homes and not devour the green belt

Our historic Garden City suburbs, such as Letchworth and Bourneville, as well as contemporary developments like Queen Elizabeth Park, offer a good model that combines the need for efficient use of land and densities with a quality of life that people want.’

The report shows that, alongside the preference for suburban living, homebuyers most value local services, such as schools, shops and libraries. They also see ‘walkable’ neighbourhoods as an opportunity for social contact and an important way of creating a sense of community.

Other priorities for the public include:

  • Building style : The poll revealed that period properties (Edwardian, Victorian and Georgian) are considered most desirable overall, by 37% of the public, though preferences are moderated by age with the youngest group preferring ?contemporary/loft’ style homes. Only 4% cited ?Mock Tudor’.
  • Car parking : This was one of the most frequently mentioned of all problems encountered by homebuyers. Of those living in recently built developments, 45% of respondents complained spontaneously about parking while only 1% commented positively about it. One of the reasons for the rejection of higher densities was a concern about parking problems. Inadequate on and off street parking forces residents to park their cars in adjacent areas.
  • Private outside space : A crucial factor for homebuyers in choosing a house is the provision of outside space, and of gardens in particular. Over three quarters of the respondents preferred to have a private garden rather than sharing a communal space with their neighbours. Front gardens are also viewed as important, as buffer between private space and the public realm of the street. Only 1% of buyers said they would accept no space between the house and the street and only 20% would accept less than 6 feet.
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