Two fifths of Brits say pandemic has made them feel closer to their local community

16% of Brits say they have spoken to their neighbours more than ever because of the pandemic, meanwhile 20% said their neighbours helped them during Covid-19 ..

Covid-19 has strengthened local communities as many people have stepped forward to look out for neighbours more than usual.  According to new research from Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), two fifths of Brits (38%) say that Covid-19 has made them feel closer to their local community, building, or street.

When asked in what way the Covid-19 pandemic has made them feel closer to their community, 16% said they have spoken to their neighbours more than ever, and 20% said their neighbours supported them during Covid-19 – or that they helped their neighbours. Technology has also helped people keep in touch with their local community. 10% said that they joined an online support group with their neighbours either online or via social media, such as Whatsapp.

For younger people (aged 18-34), a sense of local community was stronger, with 51% saying the Covid-19 pandemic made them feel closer to their local community, building, or street. Most notably, 29% said that either their neighbours had helped them during the pandemic, or vice versa – 9% higher than the national average.

Data from ONS supports this community sentiment, finding that nearly two in three adults (62.6%) said they had checked on neighbours who might need help at least once and over one in three adults (37.5%) said they had gone shopping or done other tasks for neighbours. Covid-19 has clearly strengthened emotional ties for many people.

As restrictions have just started to lift, and working from home becomes the norm, the country has spent on average 19.6 hours at home every day since the third lockdown in January 2021. With nearly half (46%) typically spending between 20 and 24 hours there, people are feeling fonder of their homes than ever. 23% said they would now not want to move as they’d spent a lot of time in their homes and felt attached to it.

While 20% said that they had not considered moving because it would be too much hassle, 9% said they had spent a lot of money and time on DIY projects for their home, and 6% said they have bought furniture specifically for their home. Looking specifically at those who own their own home, when thinking about their current living situation, 47% say that they would renovate or extend their home, or both – possibly the start of a “Generation Renovation” as many people have wanted to a new and bigger living environment, without having to move house, and leave their home and community.

For those looking to plan their next home improvement, Mortgage Advice Bureau has created an online tool which provides users with a construction project cost estimate vs. the estimated value the home extension or renovation could add to the overall property price. All you need to do is input a few details about the project and your current mortgage, the calculator then works out how to finance the home improvement through remortgaging – this is where homeowners release equity built up in their property to raise additional funds for the project. The survey found that a quarter (26%) of homeowners have remortgaged their home previously to carry out renovations or extensions.

Brian Murphy, Head of Lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “One of the few upsides of the pandemic is that it has strengthened a sense of local community and brought people closer together. Covid-19 has presented huge challenges for more than a year, but Brits have responded by pulling together and supporting one another where needed, whether that’s helping with grocery shopping or checking in with each other on a regular basis. Having also spent so much more time in our homes, the pandemic may have also strengthened many people’s emotional attachment to where they live. However, being faced with things like working from home or home schooling, thousands have had to adapt their home set up, making them think about what they want most from their property.”

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