Recession sees end of hoppers and rise of stoppers

Article date: 5 November 2009

  • Home is where the heart is as Brits have £27,000 of emotional equity in their home

Property ladder-obsessed homeowners could become a thing of the past as a new study reveals almost three quarters of the nation (74%) are happy to remain in their current home as a result of the economic downturn.  

The research* by Aviva shows that 68% of homeowners see their home as an emotional investment, where they seek relaxation and calm, rather than a commodity to make money for the future. 

And in the event of losing their existing home almost three quarters of people (71%) said they would want to buy it back and 16% said they would be prepared to pay more than the market value for it.

The Hoppers V Stoppers study by Aviva and Dr Paul Keedwell, expert in environmental psychology at Cardiff University, has calculated that, in monetary terms, the average homeowner has an emotional equity of £26,880 in their property - the Emotional Added Value (EAV) has been determined by the memories, milestones and personal contributions people have made in their homes.**

The study reveals a surprising re-assessment of how the nation views its homes in recession-hit Britain 2009:

  • The "Hopper" culture has virtually collapsed - 80% of people considered themselves to be home hoppers before the recession while only 26% say the same today
  • The majority of respondents believe that their humble abode is first and foremost a place to relax (85%)
  • Over 80% see their home as a sanctuary where they feel safe and secure
  • Almost three quarters of Brits would prefer to spend their recreational time in the comfort of their domestic surroundings (72%).

Emotional Added Value
Aviva and Dr Keedwell have developed a new methodology to determine the emotional added value (EAV) of a home in monetary terms. By polling a sample of over 1,000 UK homeowners the research findings conclude that the average EAV is 12% of the market value of a person’s home, so based on the average UK home being worth £224,000***, the average national EAV is £26,880.  This is based on the following calculation:

Emotional added value calculation

Dr Keedwell comments: “A surprisingly large number of people across the UK (68%) report having a new-found emotional attachment to their homes. This is probably because of, rather than in spite of, the economic downturn, which has made many of us change from being house hoppers to house stoppers.

“Currently less than a fifth of us regard our homes as mainly financial investments and it appears as a result of this we have acquired an emotional added value to our homes (or EAV), determined by home improvements, happy times with loved ones, personal belongings, mementos and inclusion in the local community.

“As a result of this changing trend, remarkably many of us would be prepared to buy back our homes for more than the market value.”

Buy-back value

  • 24 to 34-year-olds were shown to have the strongest emotional bond to their home with 17% prepared to buy back their home for more than the market value.
  • Women are also more emotionally invested than men (74% v 59%)
  • Interestingly there is no significant difference between rural and urban homeowners - 18% of those who live in a rural setting would pay above the market value of their property in order to continuing enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the British countryside compared to 16% living in urban areas (city centres).

Simon Warsop, director of home at Aviva adds: “In a country that has been driven by a property-ladder culture for so many years it is interesting to see that perhaps we are seeing the evolution of a new social trend – one where the home really is where the heart is rather than a commodity to do up and sell on.

“Clearly when the housing market picks up we may see our appetite for house hopping re emerge, but at the moment it seems we are clearly stopping in the place that makes us feel the most safe and secure.”


Case studies are available upon request

For further information, please contact:

Zaza Biddu
Telephone: 0207 413 3000 

Darja Norén
Telephone: 0207 413 3238 

Rebecca Holmes, Aviva’s UK Insurance press office 
Telephone: 01603 685177 

Notes to editors:

* The research was carried out on 19 August 2009 on a sample of 1,079 UK homeowners by the research agency Opinion Matters.

** Dr Keedwell, a lecturer based at Cardiff University is trained in psychology, psychiatry and the psychology of the built environment, with a special interest in the interface of psychology and architecture. He is a published author with extensive experience in research methods.

The formula, devised by Dr Keedwell and Aviva, to work out the emotional added value (EAV) of your home was calculated by looking at a sample of 1,079 UK homeowners who rated the amount of effort they have put into their homes and all the positive experiences enjoyed there versus negative experiences within their homes. The sum of these experiences was given a rating which was then multiplied by the market value of the home and divided by 100 to deliver an Emotional Added Value.

*** Average house price is £223,996. Source: Rightmove, September 2009    

About Aviva
Aviva, the international savings, investments and insurance group, is the world’s fifth largest insurance group, serving 50 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

In the UK, Aviva is a leading provider of life, pensions, investment, general insurance and health products to more than 20 million customers. Aviva also provides roadside assistance through RAC. Products are distributed through a number of channels including IFAs, brokers, corporate partners and direct to customers via the internet.

Aviva's UK Insurance business has a market share of around 15%, making it the largest general insurer in the UK. The business is focused on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

Aviva's life and pensions business in the UK has a total market share of 12% and a top three position in its key markets of savings, protection, and annuities.

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