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Number of rooms and fast broadband are top priorities for buyers

The number of bedrooms, a speedy internet connection and being close to a pub are among the top priorities British people look for in a new home, a new survey has found.

Owners and renters said that a spacious living room is more important than a modern kitchen, while local shops are a bigger priority than storage space, according to the research from Hyperoptic.

Other important factors for a new home include local amenities, with three in 10 wanting to be close to a train station, a third seeking a corner shop and more than a quarter wanting a post box nearby.

More than two thirds also said they would ‘put off’ by a home with slow WiFi, with two in five even deciding against a property after discovering the area had poor broadband connection.

The study also found that more than a third have seen their priorities change over the past five years when it comes to house hunting with almost a quarter relying on the internet more, a third having had children and one in five moving jobs.

Around three quarters believe broadband speed is now an ‘essential’ for homebuyers, and 86 per cent said having decent connection in their property is important to them. More than half put this down to needing the internet to complete personal admin such as online banking, while a third need a speedy server as they do a lot of online shopping.

A further quarter said they work from home and therefore rely on broadband, and a sixth said access to the net is important to keep their kids entertained and almost half want decent a broadband connection to keep in touch with their friends and family, and four in 10 use it for streaming TV shows and films.

But around seven in 10 have experienced slow internet in either their or someone else’s home, which resulted in 72% feeling ‘frustrated’ and more than half ‘impatient’. More than an eighth even admitted to using their neighbour’s Wi-Fi when theirs has crashed.

Some 545 are ‘more likely’ to purchase or move into a property with a good internet connection while owners are willing to wait an average of three weeks for WiFi to be set up in their new property with 38% keeping the same broadband provider.

A further 40% think there is not enough information available on the quality and speed of internet services in a potential new home and three in five would like to see a traffic light system introduced to explain broadband connection when house hunting, similar to an energy performance certificate.

‘The results show an interesting change in home movers’ preferences in recent years. People rely on the internet so much nowadays for everything from entertainment, to working and keeping in touch with others,’ said Charles Davies, managing director of Hyperoptic.

‘The rise in flexible working and the number of people working from home is likely to have had an influence on homeowners needs, such as speedy broadband. It’s interesting to see how WiFi is in the same list of priorities as parking and garden sizes,’ he added.