Keeping up with the Joneses - Brits will lie for the right address

Article date: 3 May 2006

A nationwide survey carried out by Ipsos MORI* for Norwich UnionDirect reveals that the majority of people in the UK will happilylie about where they live to make their home sound moreexclusive.

The survey commissioned by the Quote Me Happy home insurers, polledover 2000 Brits to get a deeper understanding of Britain as anation of homeowners.

The findings flagged up a nation of "Hyacinth Buckets" fixated onpostcode status. Three out of five Brit’s admitted that theywould lie about where they live to make themselves and theirneighbourhood sound more upmarket.

According to the Norwich Union Direct "Power of the Postcode"survey, home location is more important than the actual homeitself, with a staggering 77% of the nation preferring to live in amore exclusive neighbourhood than owning their "dream home".

Equation To Find The Perfect Location
As part ofNorwich Union Direct’s ongoing research into all aspects ofthe home, the home insurance specialists commissioned leading homeand property psychologist, Jon Gowlland to create an equation tounderstand what makes a neighbourhood desirable:

(G + S) ² + (V+P) = Good Neighbourhood (N)

On the equation he comments: “A neighbourhood’sdesirability is predominantly related to geographical (G)plus social factors (S) – they are the biggestattractions to making an area more desirable to the potentialhome-buyer. Of secondary importance and to be taken in toconsideration are factors of the home size/value itself (V)and underlying psychological thoughts (P) which drawindividuals to a neighbourhood. When the factors are addedtogether, the higher the end result, the more desirable theneighbourhood.”

Jon adds: “Therefore, a good neighbourhood is a region withideal location - in terms of proximity to work, shops, schools andsocial factors - in terms of being near to friends and family.Then, there is the additional consideration for the secondaryfactors - the underlying psychological aspect such as an area whichreminds the individual of a place or earlier home and as the surveyhighlights the actual home itself is of secondaryimportance."

Jon Gowlland comments further on the Norwich Union "Power of thePostcode" survey: “We do lie to make ourselves look better.People make assumptions about who we are because of where we live -it’s related to the ‘halo’ effect. If someonesays they live somewhere desirable we automatically infer positive,personality traits about that person.”

On home location being more important than the dream home Gowllandadds: “As a nation we’re obsessed with home improvement– evident by the growing number of DIY TV programmesdedicated to it. Nowadays we’re aware that we can dosomething about a home in need of repairs, if we don’t likewhere a sink is we can move it however, it’s not that easywith home location. The condition of a property is a movable feastbut location is a fixed variable.”

Commenting on the Norwich Union "Power of the Postcode" research,The House Doctor, Ann Maurice, says: “The interesting thingabout these findings is that we place more emphasis on our thelocation of our home, than on having a dream home. It is almost asif the postcode is the new class system. Although the snobberyassociated with location status may seem fickle, it could reaprewards when asserting your social standing or adding value to yourproperty. Estate agents have been using this tactic foryears.”

Heather Smith, head of marketing (Home) for Norwich Union Direct,said: ”It is important for Norwich Union Direct Insurance toget under the skin of homeowners and the mindset of people livingin Britain today. This research has flagged up some insights thatwe, as the UK’s leading home insurers, need to be awareof.”

The audit is part of a wider study being conducted by Ipsos MORIfor Norwich Union Direct Home Insurance. For more information onNorwich Union Direct visit www.norwichunion.com.

-ends-

*Ipsos MORI independent study, commission by NorwichUnion Direct Home Insurance sample consisted of 2044 adults aged15+ years (nationally representative of Great Britain). Studyundertaken between 2–7 March 2006

The study was based on a multiple answer question.

For further information, please contact:

Tel: 020 7404 3000
Fax: 020 7404 5000

Hannah Moselhi
hannahm@borkowski.co.uk 
07917 167792

Natasha Gould
natasha@borkowski.co.uk 
07920 092018

Note to editors:

Regional Breakdown

London

  1. Londoners are the region most likely to lie about theirpostcode to make their address sound more prestigious with astaggering 42% surveyed saying they would lie. 
  2. 55% would lie about where they live; they would say they livedin an area near to their homes to make their address sound moreexclusive.
  3. Londoners think its more important to live in a goodneighbourhood rather than live in their dream home with 66% inagreement.

Yorkshire/Humberside

  1. 66% of those who live in Yorkshire and Humberside would lieabout where they lived - saying they lived in areas near to theirhome to make their addresses sound more exclusive. 
  2. Yorkshire and Humberside is the region most likely to lieabout their postcode to make their address sound more prestigiouswith a staggering 42% surveyed saying they would lie. 
  3. Yorkshire and Humberside think it’s more important tolive in a good neighbourhood/location rather than live in a dreamhome with 78% in agreement.

South West

  1. The South West think it’s more important to live in agood neighbourhood/location rather than live in a dream home with82% in agreement. Welsh are the least likely to beconcerned. 
  2. 54% of the South West would lie and say they live in areasnear to their homes to make their address sound moreexclusive.
  3. South West likely to lie about their postcode to make theiraddress sound more prestigious with a staggering 34% surveyedsaying they would lie. Lower than national average of 37%

South East

  1. The South East think it’s more important to live in agood neighbourhood/location rather than live in a dream home with79% in agreement. 
  2. 60% of the South East, would lie and say they live in areasnear to their homes to make their address sound moreexclusive.
  3. South East likely to lie about their postcode to make theiraddress sound more prestigious with only 33% surveyed saying theywould lie. Lower than national average of 37%

Eastern England

  1. Eastern England think it’s more important to live in agood neighbourhood/location rather than live in a dream home with82% in agreement. Welsh are the least likely to beconcerned. 
  2. 55% of Eastern England would lie and say they live in areasnear to their homes to make their address sound moreexclusive.
  3. Eastern England likely to lie about their postcode to maketheir address sound more prestigious with only 32% surveyed sayingthey would lie. Lower than national average of 37%.

North East

  1. 66% of those who live in the North East would lie about wherethey lived saying they lived in areas near to their home to maketheir address sound more exclusive. 
  2. A third of the North East would lie about their postcode tomake their address sound more prestigious (32% surveyed).
  3. North East thinks it’s important to live in a goodneighbourhood/location rather than live in their dream home with76% in agreement.

North West

  1. 56% of those who live in the North West would lie about wherethey lived saying they lived in areas near to their home to maketheir addresses sound more exclusive. 
  2. North West likely to lie about their postcode to make theiraddress sound more prestigious with only 35% surveyed saying theywould lie. 
  3. North West thinks it’s important to live in a goodneighbourhood/location rather than live in their dream home with76% in agreement.

East Midlands

  1. 46% of those who live in the East Midlands would lie aboutwhere they lived saying they lived in areas near to their home tomake their addresses sound more exclusive. 10% lower than thenational average.
  2. East Midlands likely to lie about their postcode to make theiraddress sound more prestigious with only 36% surveyed saying theywould lie. 
  3. East Midlands think it’s important to live in a goodneighbourhood/location rather than live in their dream home with71% in agreement.

West Midlands

  1. 50% of those who live in the West Midlands would lie aboutwhere they lived saying they lived in areas near to their home tomake their addresses sound more exclusive.
  2. West Midlands likely to lie about their postcode to make theiraddress sound more prestigious with only 34% surveyed saying theywould lie. 
  3. West Midlands think it’s important to live in a goodneighbourhood/location rather than live in their dream home with78% in agreement.

Wales

  1. 60% of Welsh would lie about where they lived saying theylived in areas near to their home to make their addresses soundmore exclusive. 
  2. The Welsh are likely to lie about their postcode to make theiraddress sound more prestigious with 42% surveyed saying they wouldlie. 
  3. The Welsh think it’s important to live in a goodneighbourhood/location rather than live in their dream home with76% in agreement.

Scotland

  1. 53% of Scot’s would lie about where they lived sayingthey lived in areas near to their home to make their addressessound more exclusive. 
  2. The Scottish likely to lie about their postcode to make theiraddress sound more prestigious with only 38% surveyed saying theywould lie. 
  3. The Scottish think it’s important to live in a goodneighbourhood/location rather than live in their dream home with80% in agreement.

Norwich Union Direct Insurance

  • Norwich Union Direct is the UK's largest insurer with a marketshare of around 14%.
  • With a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses, Norwich Union Direct insures:
    - one in five households
    - one in seven motor vehicles 
    - around 800,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union Direct products are available through a varietyof distribution channels including brokers, corporate partnerssuch as banks and building societies and Norwich UnionDirect. 
  • Last year, Norwich Union Direct’s parent company, Aviva,acquired RAC. The acquisition brings together the RAC's powerfulbrand and customer base with the expertise and leading position inmotor insurance of Norwich Union Direct Insurance.

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