The quality of local high streets is still an important factor in people’s decisions about where to live, despite the pandemic having impacted many, new research from Market Financial Solutions (MFS) has found.
The London-based specialist lender commissioned an independent, nationally representative survey of 2,000 UK adults.
It found that having a vibrant local high street was important to almost half (46%) the respondents when choosing where to live.
Over a quarter (27%) of respondents said they would pay a premium (when buying or renting a property) if there was a great local high street nearby – that equates to 14.3 million people across the country.
Further, 19% 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 (46%) said that their local high street had changed notably since the start of 2020.
However, only 20% thought their local high street had improved since the onset of the pandemic.
More than three in ten (31%) of UK adults said that they shop more on their local high street now than they did before the pandemic.
Exactly half (50%) stated they prefer independent shops or hospitality venues over chains.
The vast majority (71%) think Liz Truss and the new-look government should do more to support local high street businesses.
Paresh Raja, CEO of MFS, said:
“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.”