House-hunters hate noisy homes

Noisy homes are now a major turn-off for house-hunters, according to new research from insulation specialist Rockwool.

The study found that 87% of buyers and tenants, equivalent to 41.2 million people, said noise levels are an important consideration when they’re looking to buy or rent, with almost half 43% saying they’re very important.

The findings come as Rockwool and the Noise Abatement Society host a major roundtable of property professionals and noise experts to discuss how noise pollution in homes can be reduced to help improve the living conditions of millions of Britons.

However, while house-hunters place noise in a property as a top consideration when choosing a new place to live, many home owners and landlords are in fact increasing the levels of domestic din within properties.

The Rockwool study found that Britain’s interior design revolution and thirst for open-plan living could be having the unwelcome side-effect of sharply increasing sound levels in homes.

More than one in 10 (11%) of Britons who have been disturbed by noise in the past 12 months complained about the din from neighbours walking on wooden floors, rising to one in four (25%) of those living in flats

However, 2.9 million British householders say they have removed carpet and installed wooden floors in the past three years, with Rockwool warning that badly planned home improvements could be storing up major problems for the future.

In addition, 650,000 homeowners say they have removed walls to create an open plan space in the past three years, removing the noise barriers that internal walls create.

Rockwool UK managing director Thomas Heldgaard stated: “Noise is a major issue for householders across the UK and noisy neighbours and surroundings can significantly impair people’s enjoyment of their home and have been shown to increase stress levels which can, if action isn’t taken can, have a long-term impact on individuals’ health.

“While trends towards open plan living and wooden floors may improve the aesthetic quality of homes, they also intensify the level of noise transference within the building and can significantly increase noise within flats, not only for the occupants of the apartment in question but also for their neighbours.

“We strongly encourage householders and tenants to speak to builders, developers and landlords about noise insulation when they are making home improvements. If insulation is being installed anyway to improve energy efficiency and heat retention, it makes sense to also ensure that it is improving the acoustic insulation of the building and cutting noise pollution – something which many insulation materials will do if properly specified and installed.”

The research also found that 6% of Britons have now looked at or installed insulation in their homes specifically to reduce the amount of noise in the property but also revealed that Britons are busily bringing more noise into the home, with one million homeowners saying they have installed home entertainment areas such as cinema rooms and music rooms in the past three years.

Lisa Lavia, Managing Director of the Noise Abatement Society stated: “Noise is a major nuisance and problem for people across the country and improving the quality of homes and the levels of noise insulation within them is vital.

“It is no surprise that the majority of house hunters see noise as an important consideration in choosing a house to buy or rent, and sellers and landlords ignore this at their peril.”