Local high streets are still important when choosing where to live

The quality of local high streets is still an important factor in many people’s decisions about where to live, despite the pandemic having impacted many, according to new research.

Market Financial Solutions (MFS) commissioned an independent, nationally representative survey of 2,000 UK adults and found that having a vibrant local high street was important to almost half the respondents when choosing where to live.

Over a quarter of respondents said they would pay a premium when buying or renting a property if there was a great local high street nearby.

This equates to some 14.3 million people when considered right across the country.

In addition, almost 20 per cent said the decline of their local high street had prompted them to move property or start looking for a new home.

MFS’s research found that nearly half said that their local high street had changed notably since the start of 2020.

However, only 20 per cent thought their local high street had improved since the onset of the pandemic.

More than three in ten (31 per cent) of UK adults said that they shop more on their local high street now than they did before the pandemic.

Exactly half stated they prefer independent shops or hospitality venues over chains.

Paresh Raja, CEO of MFS, says: “With lockdowns, travel restrictions, social distancing regulations and now a cost-of-living crisis, local hight streets have had a very difficult two-and-a-half years.

“Indeed, many thought these challenges would be the death of the local high street – but our research shows that there is plenty of life in them yet.

“Even with the rise of online shopping and so many delivery services, it’s clear that a vibrant local high street is really important in many people’s decisions about where to live.

“A sense of community and greater convenience remain of great value – over 14 million Britons will pay more to live near to a vibrant local high street.

“But ensuring the long-term prosperity of the UK’s high streets will take more than consumer support.

“People want to see the government up its support of local businesses, while there is an opportunity for investors to help fuel the regeneration of derelict venues, helping create new commercial and semi-commercial premises on local high streets nationwide.”