Back to July 2015

The househunting gender agenda

Leeds discovers how men and women think differently about their dream home

Compromise may be key in relationships - and new research for Leeds Building Society shows just how much each side may have to give way when a couple buys the property of their dreams.

Setting up home together can be a big step forward in a relationship but what happens when soulmates discover their domestic priorities may be very different?

Responses to a survey carried out on behalf of Leeds Building Society* showed many shared views on dream property requirements – but plenty of potential sources of discord for couples buying together.

The top five priorities for their dream home were the same for women and men:

  1. Location (75.9% women, 69.6% men)
  2. Size of property (73.8% women, 62.6% men)
  3. Garden and outside space (66.8% women, 56.0% men)
  4. Layout of property (62.4% women, 49.3% men)
  5. Off-street parking (58.6% women, 46.9% men)

And the worst five turn-offs were the same, in slightly different order of preference:

No garden1st – 40.4%1st – 29.6%
No driveway2nd – 14.2%2nd - 13.7%
Need for modernisation3rd – 9.5%4th – 10.6%
Stairs in the living room4th – 9.4%5th – 9.3%
Old heating system5th – 9.3%3rd – 12.7%

However, the elements they were prepared to compromise on were a little different – both genders were in agreement that they could manage without good interior decoration (34.2% women, 22.6% men) and live without period features if they had to (27.3% women, 19.5% men).

Women were prepared to compromise on having a woodburner or fireplace (26.9%), home office (25.6%) or a new kitchen and bathroom (25.2%), while men were more prepared to give way over property layout (21.4%), property size (17.8%) and the need for modernisation (17.6%).

Overall women seemed to view a purchase in more practical terms – focussing on amenities such as transport links and promixity to shops and good schools, and how much garden and outside space a property offered. Generally, men appeared more hard-headed about the financial aspects of the transaction, prioritising a property’s investment potential and the ability to be extended or modernised. Men also were keener to have a home office.

A period property was top choice for both (33.0% women, 26.9% of men) with a modern home a close second (25.4% women, 22.8% men), and a new build third (18.6% women, 23.0% men).

Men and women were in agreement that two bathrooms was the perfect number (59.0% of women, 53.1% of men) but perhaps surprisingly men were more likely than women to favour having at least three bathrooms (24.7% of men, 15.8% of women).

Both sexes preferred three bedrooms (52.6% of women, 52.2% of men), with two bedrooms the minimum for both (only 1.1% of women, 2.5% of men would choose a one-bedroomed home).

“Buying a property is the biggest financial commitment most of us will make and it means so much more than bricks and mortar and how much the mortgage will cost each month,” said Martin Richardson, Leeds Building Society’s General Manager – Business Development.

“There’s a lot to think about for a single purchaser but when you’re buying with another person having to take account of additional views and priorities can make the process more of a challenge to be able to end up with a choice which suits you both.

“This survey shows many points of agreement in what men and women prioritise in their dream home but inevitably there will need to be compromise on both sides for such an important joint decision.”

“Buying a home together is naturally a compromise and is often a blend of practical versus emotional factors,” said Richard Sexton, Director of Business Development for e.surv.

“One thing that should never be compromised on is the need to obtain appropriate independent advice on the propery value and condition – it’s clear Leeds Building Society leads the way in ensuring that its mortgage applicants have access to this service from professional valuers as part of their offer.”


Notes to Editors

*Leeds Building Society surveyed 1,000 homeowners through OnePoll in March 2015.

Awards won by Leeds Building Society in the past 12 months include the ‘Innovation Award (Lenders)’ at the Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards 2015, in addition to being named ‘Best Intermediary Lender’, both for the second consecutive year. The Society also received the award for ‘Best Use of Technology (Lenders)’.

Leeds Building Society has 67 branches throughout the UK, Gibraltar and Ireland and assets of £12.1bn (as at 31st December 2014). The Society has operated from the centre of Leeds since 1886.