Author Aira Torralba
It’s a well-known heart-warming saying, and ‘home, sweet home’ is a good measure of the way we all like to feel about the properties we live in when everything’s going to plan.
In our Aviva Family Finances Report 2015, we explored many aspects of home-sweet-home ownership – how people view their homes, what their plans are, and what they’ve done to protect their most valuable asset. Some of the responses we had were predictable, some were more surprising than we expected:
- while it’s only 18% of private renters, around 30% of mortgagees describe themselves as being ‘emotionally attached’ to their homes;
- nearly a third (30%) of those homeowners with a mortgage saw their home as a financial investment;
- and just over a quarter (25%) of the mortgagees we spoke to were planning to pass that property on to their families.
However, we think it may be a generational change in focus that’s affected one significant aspect of emotional attachment: the heart of the home.
At the heart of it all…
At one time, the kitchen was commonly thought of as the place where families gathered to share the good times and bad – the true heart of the ‘home’. Nowadays, possibly due entertainment and media influences, it’s the living room.
- Despite the popularity of open-plan living, 73% of families believe a living room is the heart of their home, compared with 15% who still think that way about their kitchens.
Renting vs. buying – still trying hard
Moving from rented accommodation to home-ownership is still proving to be hard for many, with 30% saying they couldn’t afford the deposit or the fees, and another 23% saying it’s the high cost of living that makes saving such a challenge.
Yet despite that view, the majority (55%) see ‘saving’ as the way forward, which is good news. What’s thought-provoking perhaps, is that 11% rely on gifted money and a further 6% depend on an inheritance. And in London, 11% of potential homeowners are depending on inherited money to fund a first step onto the property ladder.
Better things to come
Attitudes are changing to home-ownership, as well as to what’s most appreciated and what’s most important in the home, but we would still like to see more people looking after their properties for the generations to come.
- Most likely improvements to a home – new kitchens (23%); new bathrooms (18%) and garden make-overs (14%);
- Least likely improvements to a home – conservatories (7%); loft conversions (6%) and woodburning stoves (2%).
Over half (55%) of the homeowners we spoke to have plans for improvements over the next five years, but – alarmingly, considering the conditions of most mortgages – only 82% of the families we spoke to held buildings insurance, and 69% insured their home contents.
For more insights, download the Aviva Family Finances Report 2015 now