Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz once said that there's no place like home, and she was right. But what about the forever home? Many of us want (or already have) somewhere that's just that extra bit special; somewhere to do up, grow old in with a lifetime of memories. Somewhere to hang our hat.
We surveyed 4,000 renters and homeowners from across the UK to pinpoint what the modern day forever home looks like. We also looked at the age we can expect to find it and the journey we take to get there.
Love can wait
We discovered that a quarter of renters have previously owned homes and, on average, women tend to buy their first property before men. 34.35% of female renters buy their first home between the ages of 18 and 23, compared to 20.25% of males. Could this suggest that millennials are no longer waiting around for love to get on the property ladder?
Over a quarter of our renters reckon they'd own just one property before settling in their forever home. Practicality is the name of the game when it comes to essential amenities; the top three are supermarket (37%), low crime rates (36%) and good transport links (30%).
In terms of desirable features of a forever home, our survey suggests that men and women agree on more than you might expect; the top three preferable elements for both sexes are a large kitchen, followed by private garden and finally an en-suite bathroom.
A bit of hush
The homeowners we surveyed seem to prefer life in the slower lane when it comes to local amenities; they choose peace and quiet (43%), the countryside (39%) and the local supermarket (38%) as their top three essentials.
Almost half of them (45%) bought their first home between the age of 24 and 29, and one in five homeowners (19%) have already owned three different properties. Just like our renters, they think having a large kitchen, private garden and an en-suite bathroom are fundamental parts of their forever home.
But how much would they be willing to shell out to give their property that special homey feeling? The owners we surveyed estimate they have spent just over £18,000 on top of their mortgage tweaking and improving their property. Almost a third (32%) reckon they are already living in their forever home.
School or pub?
Whilst the men and women we surveyed agree on their top three essential amenities, as we go further down the list of priorities, there are a few differences that may be seen as more stereotypical. Women are twice as likely to consider local schools when selecting their perfect home, whilst men state that a good local pub is on their list of priorities!
As far as concerns surrounding securing that dream home, women are most worried about saving for the deposit, whilst for men it's being approved for the mortgage itself.
Our statistics also reveal that those living in the South West have rented the most homes (4), whilst the South East have the oldest first-time buyers (35 years old on average).
Keep it in the family
Unsurprisingly, regional differences in house prices make a big impact when it comes to purchasing our first home. Homeowners in Yorkshire and the Humber are the youngest to get on the property ladder, with an average age of 26, whilst 1 in 10 Londoners has bought their first home with a family member as opposed to a partner.
Over half of homeowners in London (59%) would happily move out of London in order to settle down in their forever home, whilst 48% of those in Northern Ireland already feel content they are in their dream property.