Brits tempted by a taste for grand interior designs

Article date: 3 June 2013

  • Under-floor heating, marble floors and granite work surfaces top the “high spec” list

There was a time when good schools, a garden and transport links were enough to entice prospective home buyers through the door, but now it seems estate agents are focusing on high spec home buzzwords to pique the interest of property shoppers.

Analysis by Aviva of over 5 million properties for sale in the UK* reveals that 257,000 homes are now described as having a “high spec interior”. The findings show that the most common high-end feature listed by estate agents is under-floor heating (mentioned in 63% of the 257,000 high spec homes analysed) while over a quarter (27%) boast of quality finishes such as granite work surfaces and marble flooring.

Other high spec features noted include ceiling speakers (2%) and luxury fitments such as walk-in wardrobes and built-in entertainment centres (1%). The kudos of premium brands is also important, with 2% of high spec homes listing either Smeg or Miele appliances as part of their marketed qualities.

Quiet Life

The analysis also showed that while “ambience” remains an important factor for selling properties (mentioned in nearly 2% of the 5 million analysed listings), estate agents are advocating the serene locations of flats and houses for sale, above the proximity to lively bars, cafes and restaurants. 

In nearly two-fifths (61%) of homes described as having “ambient features” the peaceful and tranquil location is highlighted, compared to only one in ten that mention local/country pubs (13%).  And despite the buzzing café culture and rise of local independent coffee chains, only 300 ambient properties list café culture as a selling point, with two thirds (72%) of those mentions located in Greater London.

Estate agents property listings across the UK also revealed that:

  • Where schools are mentioned as a key feature, homes in the South East are most likely to use proximity to schools as a selling point, while in the North East schools are only referenced as a selling point for 2% of homes.
  • Within the results for “garden features” 12% of properties in Greater London list a garden as a main quality, despite limited space in the Capital. Over a quarter (28%) offer a large garden and 7% offer a “beautiful/attractive garden”.The most favoured was a south-facing garden, featuring in over half (55%) of property descriptions in the Capital.
  • Whilst transportation is one of the less popular features (mentioned in less than 1% of the 5 million analysed listings), almost three quarters (72%) of homes that reference transportation state that they are ideally located for an easy commute.  Within this feature category, homes in the West Midlands (5%), Wales (5%) and the North East (4%) are least likely to list transport links.

Commenting on the research, Heather Smith, director of home insurance at Aviva said: “We all fall in love with properties for different reasons, and while the character and charm of a home is a matter of personal taste, it seems that assets such as smart flooring and on-trend kitchen brands are as important to some buyers as transport links and schools.

“And with the pace of life so fast for many of us, it’s not surprising that home buyers are looking for a little refuge from their busy working lives and would prefer tranquillity to buzzing bars and local pubs.

“But whether you plump for marble flooring or laminate, walk-in wardrobe or flat-packed furniture make sure you can also afford to maintain the perfect home once you find it. And if you’re lucky enough to get some swanky fixtures and fittings as part of the purchase, ensure you tell your home insurer so you can be certain you have the right cover to protect everything in your new home.”

As standard, Aviva’s home insurance covers all your contents while being moved by professional removers including temporary storage for up to 7 days.**

To find out more about how to maintain the features in your home, visit the Aviva website for a range helpful advice and guidance:  

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- Ends -

If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact: Rebecca Holmes: Aviva Press Office: 01603 685177 / 07800 690731 /

Gabre Minkah: Hill+Knowlton Strategies: 0207 413 3708/07904 338 044

*The research is based on analysis of 5.5 million textual descriptions of property for sale gathered from estate agency listings across the country.  The listings have been segmented by (a) region and (b) property classification.  Counts for various keywords are taken for each segment. To adjust for the relative size of each region, we report these counts as a percentage of the total number of listings analysed for each segment.  There is an even distribution of listings across the country as the gathered data is not biased towards a particular estate agency type of chain. The underlying listings data comes from the property portal which obtains feeds from approximately 90% of UK estate agencies.

Aviva worked with Calnea Analytics to conduct the research. Calnea is a leading provider of residential property market data, analysis and automated valuation services to all sectors of the UK economy – including government institutions, mortgage lenders, surveyors, estate agents and the general public. Calnea operates the property portal and is a subsidiary of Landmark Information Group.

** Cover for your contents while being moved by professional removers from your existing home to your new permanent home (including temporary storage in a furniture depository for up to 7 days).This cover only applies if your existing home is insured with Aviva and the incident occurs during your Aviva policy period of insurance. Limits and exclusions apply;

Notes to editors

Aviva provides insurance, savings and investment products to 34 million customers worldwide.

We are the UK’s largest insurer with over 14 million customers and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance. We combine strong life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand. We are committed to serving our customers well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business, which makes a positive contribution to society, and for which our people are proud to work.

We are ranked as one of the UK’s top ten most valuable brands and Aviva Plc is in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.  In 2012 we invested £5.7m into our UK communities. One in three of our employees were involved in community investment activities which included giving nearly 30,000 hours.

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