Real Homes Reports: survey reveals what makes a dream home

And it's not all about square footage – our research points to a strong preference for gorgeous gardens and a quiet life. An escape from stressful daily lives, perhaps?

river Wey in Surrey, England
(Image credit: Getty)

What kind of a home is a dream home? And what sacrifices would you make to live in one? Last month Real Homes commissioned a poll of 909 people and we've just had the results: our respondents, from all over the UK, revealed a firm preference for suburban and country homes with gardens – but how our home helps us achieve a restful, environmentally-friendly lifestyle is right up there, too. 

When asked 'What would be your ideal type of home?', 36 per cent of the participants responded with 'country home', with a further 30 per cent opting for 'suburban home'. By contrast, only 5 per cent answered 'modern flat in a new build'. 

exterior barn conversion

Does your dream home look like this?

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

When asked to make more specific choices about what this ideal home might feature, an impressive 67 per cent said they would like a garden. Over half (57 per cent) would like their dream home to be energy efficient, while 41 per cent would like a large kitchen with an island.  

The desire for gardens is so strong, in fact, that nearly half of participants (47 per cent) indicated that a garden alone would persuade them to buy a property they were otherwise unsure of. Given that the majority of respondents (73 per cent) are already home owners, this figure is even more impressive. It isn't just that a first-time buyer may be dazzled by a lovely garden, but people who have already gone through the process of searching for and purchasing a home would still base their decision at least partly on whether or not a house had an outdoor space. 

These figures point to a trend among younger Britons to lean towards a quieter, slower life that is oriented towards spending time at home and in the garden. Unsurprisingly, 58 per cent of our respondents fell into the 25 to 50 age bracket, with 46 per cent in the 35 to 50 range. That's a substantial number of younger people desiring a slower pace of life. Nor were their preferences necessarily to do with the requirements of raising a family, as only half of the respondents have children. 

rear exterior view of Victorian home with covered veranda

Or does your dream home look like this?

(Image credit: Polly Eltes)

Interestingly, the results of the survey also point to a shift in how people are thinking about property and its primary purpose. Bearing in mind the strong vision of an ideal home shared by so many people, not that many demonstrated a desire to sacrifice their daily quality of life for their dream home. Specifically, when asked how long they were prepared to commute every day in order to live in the property they really want, 48 per cent stated they would commute for a maximum of one hour in total every day, with a further 41 per cent only willing to travel for up to half an hour. Only 7 per cent would endure a long commute in order to live in the house of their dreams.  

One thing is clear: Britons increasingly want a lifestyle that is less hectic and less stressful, and more focused on their free time, whatever type of home they live in or dream about. 

We'd love to know your view – get in touch on Facebook and Twitter to tell us about your dream home (penthouse in a sky rise, perhaps?).

autumnal garden of an old timbered farmhouse

Or is this your idea of a dream home?

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

Anna is a professional writer with many years of experience. She has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. She covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.