There are a number of factors that go into deciding on whether or not to buy a house – how many bedrooms? Is there a garden? How do the local schools rate? But what about the relationship that we could potentially have with our neighbours…

Last month, we surveyed the region’s homeowners to discover how well we really know our neighbours. Whilst we’re pleased to say that the majority of people living in houses are friendly with those living next door, only 2% would describe their neighbours as ‘friends’.

What’s perhaps the most interesting find is that, despite most people either engaging in small talk or saying a quick hello when they see a neighbour, a staggering 94% admitted to intentionally avoiding their neighbours at least once, and 28% of those described their neighbours as nosey.

Of those surveyed that live in an apartment, 55% admitted to not even knowing their neighbours’ names and 19% have never said hello to them in the hallway. One half also identified loud noises as their biggest pet peeve.

On the other hand, despite the majority of homeowners only having occasional contact with their neighbours, many were quick to praise their neighbours for the good deeds that they have done over the years – from taking in parcels to cooking for them in times of need.

One person commented: “When I was a little girl, one of our neighbours came to the house on Christmas Eve dressed as Santa and gave me and my sisters a present each. It was kind of magical at the time!”

Another described their neighbour as “kind” as they “bring in my washing and leave it in my back porch if it rains while I’m out.”

So why are neighbours so important? Good neighbours don’t just make good friends; they’re also good for your health. Recent studies in the US have revealed that being part of a close-knit community has a positive impact on a person’s lifestyle, therefore reducing stress and encouraging social behaviour.

So for those of you moving into a new Countryside home, don’t forget to make an effort to meet your new neighbours as the community that you live in can make your home even more special.

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