A pleasant location, ample space and good connections have long been the staples of an effective property search. But since the pandemic hit in 2020, high net worth buyers and families alike are increasingly wanting homes that actively support well-being.
The importance of physical and mental health has never been more pronounced and, with all of us having spent months confined to our homes, the way we want to live is changing. Green space is valued more than ever before, as are defined working and living spaces. In fact, research from estate agent Savills shows that 62% of home buyers consider having outdoor areas more important than since the start of the pandemic, with 57% saying that having a home working space is now a bigger priority.
These are aspects of the ‘new normal’ that savvy buyers have come to consider essential. Some high-end developers however, such as Berkeley Group, are one step ahead, already ‘designing for life’ and creating developments such as TwelveTrees Park in East London that has put the well-being of its future residents, front and centre. We’ve pulled together our top tips for what to look for when property hunting to ensure your home promotes a happier, healthier you.
Access to green space
Being near green areas is a proven plus for well-being, helping to support positive mental health and encouraging more active lifestyles. It also means better local air quality, something which is especially important in urban spaces, and is becoming a must for any home, with developers increasingly including nature in designs.
Space, however, is always at a premium, both in cities and rural areas, meaning any new greenery needs to have its value maximised. At TwelveTrees Park, for instance, green space has been put at the heart of designs. Located in vibrant East London – an area that is increasingly attracting high-earners and successful young professionals – this new place is dedicated to promoting well-being, including a 4.5-acre park running through its centre. Its position ensures green views for as many residents as possible and provides ample space for all to unwind with nature.
But proximity to existing green space is also a key consideration and many developments are now working hard to improve the biodiversity of their surroundings and make natural areas more accessible. For example, at Woodberry Down in Finsbury Park, Stoke Newington’s East Reservoir, a haven for plants and wildlife, was reopened to the public for the first time in 200 years as part of the development.
A thriving community
Having a social life and a sense of connection to others is vital to well-being. On-site amenities in new developments such as shops, restaurants, bars and sports facilities help foster a positive, vibrant feel in new communities giving residents a pride in where they live. The value of this cannot be underestimated, particularly after we have been deprived of these amenities for so much of the past year and a half.
The best developments promote good neighbourly connections, sometimes before anyone has even moved in. No-one wants to live in a place resented by locals, and intelligent developers reach out and connect with people from an early stage – building good relations creates a better, healthier place to live. The forming of a positive community can also be factored into plans of course, for instance TwelveTrees Park will have a community hub, a space specifically designed for people to meet and socialise.
Promoting modern living
Living in the 21st century means allowing for flexible, connected lifestyles; supporting day-to-day routines so people can lead positive lives. Co-working areas in developments provide workers with spaces to be social while not at the office and some places, such as TwelveTrees Park, are making green areas Wi-Fi-enabled, so you can easily work outside when it’s sunny.
Encouraging people to be healthy is also a key part of modern development. This includes offering resident gyms health suites, as well as maximising transport links – in some cases by creating new stations or station entrances. Having good connections makes it easy for people to travel and visit new areas, as well as reducing the commute – a big positive for mental well-being.
Eco-anxiety, or persistent worries about the future of the Earth and the animals it shelters, is becoming increasingly common in younger people – and it’s important that they don’t feel their homes are contributing to that.
New-build properties can, and almost always are, built to higher environmental standards than older buildings, with energy-efficiency designed in through better insulated walls and tighter fittings. Often, modern appliances are included at no extra cost – such as smart heating systems – as well as integrated recycling bins. This makes it easy for people to live environmentally friendly lives and delivers the ‘feel good factor’ that a positive contribution to society can provide.
Make well-being a priority
The last year has taught us all a lot – not least the importance of living life, connecting with friends and family, and putting our well-being top of the priority list. A new home can be so much more than just a space to live. Choose carefully and it could create a new and improved you. Now, that’s definitely worth a very careful investment.