Savills News

Savills statement - Priorities for new home buyers: Britain vs. Vietnam

This statement includes the survey results from Savills UK regarding this matter and observation about buyers’ behavior from Mr. Duong Duc Hien, Director Residential Sales, Savills Hanoi, thus giving you a comparative view of buyers’ priorities in a developed residential market and a developing one.


A collaborative survey between Savills UK and NHBC Foundation reveals what today's buyers prioritise when looking for a new-build home. Do the same factors apply in Vietnam?

Survey results in the UK: beyond location, location, location

All over the world, residential markets are facing a series of very important challenges. As well as the pressure to deliver more homes, there is a need to focus on raising housing quality. We are also seeing major demographic changes and an increasingly diverse market with first-time buyers, upsizers, relocators, downsizers and those needing specialist accommodation, each with their own particular needs. As such, Savills and NHBC Foundation collaborated on a survey from over 5,400 new-home buyers across Great Britain to explore what was important to them when they made their purchase. The survey results reveal a set of core priorities, which in order are:

  • Minimum maintenance
  • Off-street parking
  • Location
  • New home warranty
  • Size and design of living space
  • Quality of the neighborhood
  • Energy efficiency

Buyers in the different market densities are remarkably consistent in the choice of these priorities and the order in which they are ranked. These appear to represent a set of core priorities that can usefully inform the direction of general marketing activities.

Significantly, no amenity categories score high enough to be included in the top seven when the sample is analysed by density or purchaser type. The importance of neighbourhood quality to buyers has been recognized in other studies. Energy efficiency appears to be steadily moving up the priority list for homebuyers, perhaps because it has a growing association with comfort and low bills. Also, there is some evidence that priorities are changing over time, with for example, safety and security no longer registering so highly.

When we shift attention to what is most important to different purchaser types, the priorities mentioned earlier remain well-represented. There is, however, some clear differentiation between the patterns (choice and order) of priorities for the different buyer types.

First time buyers highlight Help to Buy as their highest priority.
Upsizers select off-street parking as their highest priority and chose the size and design of living space as their second highest priority.
Relocators also prioritise off-street parking and attach great importance to location and neighbourhood considerations.
Downsizers select minimum maintenance as their highest priority, but notably energy efficiency is one of their top seven.

These profiles of priority indicate opportunities for customized marketing to different home buyers. While cost and the property considerations will be foremost in the minds of buyers, local amenities also feature within their decision making. Figure 13b shows the amenities that are most important to different buyers, and highlight the following:

  • The importance of local NHS services to relocator and downsizer purchasers (who tend to have older age profiles)
  • The importance of bus routes/bus stops to all purchasers
  • The importance of transport links and local shopping to first-time buyer
  • The importance of local schools to upsizer households
  • The importance of a local convenience store

While this analysis contributes to our understanding of particular needs among different categories of purchaser, there is some predictability about these needs, particularly when the typical ages of the purchaser types are taken into consideration.

Observation in Vietnam: location reigns supreme
In Vietnam, location remains the top priority for homebuyers, according to Mr Duong Duc Hien, Director of Residential Sales North and Central region Savills Vietnam. From years of observing buyer behaviour, Hien believes Vietnamese purchasers have the following priorities:

  • Location
  • Developer
  • Facilities & Amenities 
  • Quality of handover 
  • Size and design of living space
  • Quality of the neighborhood
  • Construction company

“There are certain similarities and differences between a developed residential market like the UK and a developing market like Vietnam”, Hien said. “Home buyers in Vietnam also prioritise size and design of living space, quality of the neighbourhood and especially location. This particular factor ranks #1 in Vietnam, unlike in Great Britain, where urban planning separates residential and commercial areas. The CBD is the economic and financial hub while residential neighbourhoods situate in less central locations. As our transportation systems are not fully developed and public transport is not convenient and widely used like in Britain, location remains the most important factor”.

“Another difference to note is the insignificant importance of factors such as maintenance and energy efficiency for buyers in Vietnam, which is explained by the fact that maintenance services and electricity in Vietnam are not as costly as in the UK. Instead, buyers prioritise factors associated with the quality of the residential product such as reputation of developer, capability of construction company, quality of handover, and facilities and amenities. This behaviour indicates buyers’ lessons and experiences from the early days of Vietnam residential market with poor quality projects, delayed construction progress and lack of development planning – a situation observed in a developing property market”, Hien said.

Hien also noted another intriguing behaviour of Vietnamese buyers: “Another factor that has significant impact on our buyers’ decisions, but is rather difficult to rank among other priorities is feng shui. This traces back to the customs and culture of the region, Vietnamese included. Buyers take in to consideration history and terrain of the development’s land, the direction which the apartment or villa faces and favour products with good feng shui. This factor has been contributing to the success of many residential developments and locations, namely Thu Thiem in Ho Chi Minh City, which people believe brings good feng shui and thus is witnessing impressive transaction prices”.

Recommended articles