When it comes to unwinding and feeling relaxed, there’s no better remedy than Mother Nature. Exploring the great outdoors and being close to green space, such as woodland areas or parks, is great for the mind and body. Increased opportunities for physical activity, less stress and positive mental well-being are just some of the health benefits associated with living near to green space.
It appears that housing developers are well aware of the impact green space can have on the decision to buy a new home because more and more garden villages are being established throughout the country. These village-style developments capitalise on the love of the great outdoors and offer residents the ‘best of both worlds’.
What the neighbours say...
We recently visited a garden village to interview residents and find out what attracted them to this style of development and the links to green space were almost certainly one of the biggest pull factors. Many of the residents have children or pets, so being able to walk outdoors is essential. The feeling of being on the edge of town and experiencing a countryside lifestyle, while still having access to local amenities was also cited as important motivations for moving home.
We have tapped into this psychology within our marketing and communications campaigns for a number of garden villages, including Tadpole Garden Village and Arborfield Green. The luxury of countryside living and the convenience of local town amenities have played a major role in our key messaging and both resonate with a wide audience.
Blue is the new green
As well as offering parks and woodland areas, many developments are now incorporating water - whether it’s providing a lake, a duck pond, a river or an urban water feature. And there’s good reason for it. Recent research has outlined that living by water can also have a positive effect on your health.
The 'benefits of blue space' is not a new theory. For hundreds of years doctors have been prescribing walks along the water’s edge as a way to improve well-being and it’s an image that is universally appealing. When asked to visualise a calming place, most people would probably dream up an image of an exotic beach and the sound of crashing waves. So why are people attracted to being by the water?
Wallace J. Nichols is a marine biologist and has researched the neuroscience of being in and around water, also known as ‘blue mind’. Blue mind suggests that people are healthier, happier and more successful when they’re near water (in all its forms). The Blue Gym project also found that water has a positive effect on health. During a study by the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, participants were shown images of green and blue space and the images that displayed both green and blue space gained the best results. The research also looked at postcode data and found that the closer an individual lived to the English coast, the healthier they were.
The ripple effect
The reported health benefits and the lifestyle elements of living near water combine to make waterside homes more desirable. And that obviously attracts a premium. Strutt and Parker’s ‘Waterside Index’ reveals that buying a home close to water is 30% more expensive, but the price tag hasn’t deterred people from buying property. The index reveals that in the south-east, the number of people wanting to live in a coastal property has quadrupled from 3% in 2014 to 12% in 2015. Other areas where the demand has grown include the east coast of Kent and the south-west.
There are plenty of beautiful waterside locations throughout the UK. From breathtaking stretches of coastline and picturesque lakes to winding inland rivers, this country has it all! So it’s no wonder waterside properties are sought-after and more and more developers are capitalising on it.
Leveraging the USP
As well as developing marketing and communications campaigns for a number of garden villages, we’ve also created distinctive communications campaigns for waterside developments. We’ve produced online and offline material for Crest Nicholson’s Firepool Lock in Taunton and Bath Riverside; The Boardwalk in Brentford and Royal Albert Wharf in the Royal Docks for Notting Hill and, most recently, Peabody and Hill’s Fish Island Village in East London.
During the placemaking process of a waterside development, it’s crucial to focus on the science behind the attraction of green and blue space and use this to inform key messages. Audience segmentation can also be valuable in order to understand the different reasons people might move to a waterside home. By knowing the different audience motivations, it becomes easier to create personalised communications that really engage. For instance, first-time buyers may want to live near a beach for the lifestyle status, while retirees may be interested in a lake for fishing and dog walking.
Whatever reason someone wants to own a home that’s near to green and blue space, it’s obvious that there’s a real pull factor. The ‘housing futures’ study by Strutt and Parker found that 56% of people surveyed would consider buying a Heal house (healthy eating active living).
When marketing property that has these features, the communications should highlight the lifestyle aspect, leverage the USP of the scheme and cater to the individual needs and motivations of each audience.
To discuss this topic in more detail and how we can help you to create a compelling communications campaign, get in touch with the team today and watch this space for further developments.