Children shun apartment living

Today’s young children typically dream of owning a country house when they grow up, according to a survey. This presents a problem for the Government who have ambitious plans to build 3 million more homes to be ready by the time this generation reaches the first time buyer age.

In order to find out what children aspired to, Savills have analysed nearly 4,000 children’s drawings of their ‘dream home’. The overriding conclusion was that most children imagine themselves living in a detached family home in the country. This creates considerable challenges in the future for house builders in reconciling what appears to be a national dream of the ideal home, and what is likely to be the social, economic and environmental reality of higher density living later in the 21st century.

At a time when most new homes built are apartments, with only 14% of the UK’s new homes built as detached (down from 43% in 2000), family homes may be hard to come by. Unless, of course, developers and planners decide that in a difficult market, and with a chronic shortage of family homes in the UK, it is time to focus on delivering them again in large numbers.

Some 10,000 children, aged 5 to 13+, from across the UK, entered a competition sponsored by Savills in association with Country Life magazine to design their dream home.

Following this, Design for Homes and Savills Research analysed the drawings entered into the competition. Just under 4,000 were examined and details including the type, style and form of the building were recorded as well as internal and outdoor features. This was combined with a personal profile of the entrant, including age, sex, and location. The statistical realities of the UK housing stock were compared and contrasted to the children’s idealised vision. The following results offer a unique insight into the ideals and vision of the next generation of future house buyers.

Yolande Barnes, Director Savills research says, ‘By the time these children are of a house buying age, they are most likely to be living in medium to high density neighbourhoods near to urban centres, where energy and water saving features both in the home and surrounding infrastructure are par for the course. Can we reconcile children’s dream homes and desires for open spaces with the high density agenda? Or will the ideal home be too exclusive for an increasing majority?’

What the children want:


Two thirds of homes were rural:

69% Rural

31% Urban

House Types

80% Detached

18% Fantasy

1.5% Semi-detached or terraced

0.5% apartments

House layout

73% traditional cellular layout

16% open plan layout

House façade colour

18% Multicoloured

26% White

20% brown


41% medium

34% large

25% small

20% of homes featured swimming pools

-Many featured public facilities:

11% featured playgrounds,

4% football pitches/tennis courts


20% of drawings feature animals – of these 25% horses, 17% dogs

Eco features

Just 3% of drawings included Eco features. Of these:

40% featured ponds

20% solar panels

16% vegetable patches

12% wind turbines

10% greenhouses

4% green roofs

1% recycling bins

1% rain water tanks.

* Country houses for sale