Family planning takes a turn

Over the next 20 years, the Government will encourage private companies to build between 4.4 million and 5 million new homes in Britain to cope with a fundamental change in the way we live.

While the UK population will remain roughly the same, the number of homes will increase rapidly, as the traditional nuclear family of father, mother and 2.4 children increasingly breaks down.

Up to half of these homes will be built on what is currently the English countryside, much to the dismay of campaigners. Together, they will cover an area of 325 square miles – the equivalent of ten new cities, each the size of Bristol – and provide enough space to comfortably house the entire population of Belgium. By the time this wave of building is finished, nearly one in four UK consumers will live in a new home.

That sends a shiver down the spines of all eco-conscious citizens: but for marketers, it generates a shiver of anticipation. As a new study, Brookside Nation, from Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO clearly demonstrates, the inhabitants of Britain’s new private housing estates are already forming a completely different socio-economic group, displaying markedly different characteristics from inhabitants of older private housing developments or modern council estates.

AMV strategic planner Warwick Cairns points out: “The inhabitants of these newly built estate homes are not like other people and it’s a difference that is measurable and quantifiable.”

Obviously, Cairns admits, it isn’t true to say that all newly built home owners are the same (indeed, he identifies distinct personality traits within them, which can be linked to the sort of home they live in), nor are all individual newly built home owners different to all other individual home owners.

But, he says, “when you analyse the attitudes and behaviour of new home owners en masse, it becomes clear that the inhabitants of these homes tend as a group to do things, and buy things, and value things, and even think things that are not quite the same, or expressed in the same way, as you will find in comparable groups of people elsewhere”.

For example, AMV’s research (conducted face-to-face in people’s new homes) has found that those who live in newly built homes value their cars more than others, and an analysis of TGI data shows they are 16 per cent more likely to agree with the statement “you can judge a person by the car they drive”. They are also 14 per cent more likely to choose their own car on the basis of how impressive it looks in their driveway and more likely to leave their car in the driveway, despite having a garage.

They are also more likely to stay at home than go to the pub (22 per cent are less likely than the average to visit the boozer, and 12 per cent are more likely to say most of their drinking is done at home).

New home owners invest time and money on making sure their home is a pleasant environment: they are 14 per cent more likely to have widescreen TV and home cinema; 29 per cent more likely to pay more for good quality wine; and 14 per cent more likely to eat foreign or exotic food (often on a tray or coffee table rather than at a dinner table).

Life in general is orderly and well-prepared, with new estate home owners likely to be well insured and to follow a well organised routine. They are more likely to save and are happy to use credit cards without going into debt. They are ten per cent more likely to see themselves as perfectionists, wanting to make the most out of home, career and life.

Interestingly, AMV suggests that the design of new estates means most shopping trips will have to be made by car to a limited number of large multiple stores. As this includes shopping trips to buy home furnishings, many of the same items will turn up again and again in different homes.

Coupled with the fact that houses on newly built estates tend to look the same, this has created a need for at least some items in the home to be more individual and personal.

The lack of community facilities on most new estates, and the fact that inhabitants tend to keep themselves to themselves, means that homes will be well stocked with food, drink and home entertainment paraphernalia, making them physically and emotionally self sufficient.

New estate dwellers

AGREE

You can judge a person by the car they drive

I choose my car mainly on the basis of its looks

I always listen to the radio in the car

I see work as a career rather than just a job

I enjoy eating foreign food

It’s worth paying more for good quality wine

I do most of my drinking at home

DISAGREE

My car is only for getting me from A to B

I pay cash for everything

I find it difficult to save

Owning stocks and shares is too risky for me

I go to the pub for company

We take holidays in Britain rather than abroad

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