Forget Downton Abbey-style estates, swimming pools or chocolate-box cottages, Britain's dream house is a run-of-the-mill detached property in commuter zone

Catherine Neilan
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Photo taken 05 July 2003 shows Highclere
Who'd live in a house like this? Not the vast majority of Britons, apparently (Source: Getty)

Spend your days dreaming of a mansion so big you can avoid the rest of your family? You are, apparently, in the minority.

New research suggests that even when money is no object, the nation's ideal home is more modest than you might have thought.

Forget Downton Abbey-style estates - our dream home is a south-facing detached property with an average of 3.5 bedrooms, two bathrooms and a "small lawned garden".

We also want parking space for two cars, and to be within a mile of the nearest town or city centre - although having a country estate came out slightly ahead of owning a London townhouse (15 per cent vs 13 per cent). Local amenities should be within walking distance and include transport connections, local shops, parks, restaurants, and supermarkets.

Detached properties top the dream list with more than half of people wanting that extra distance from their neighbours, according to Zoopla.

And while you might expect period properties to top the list of des-res properties, most Britons just want a modern home, with almost half of those surveyed opting for a house with a 21st century feel.

The nation's dream home

1) Modern, detached

2) 3.5 bedrooms

3) Two bathrooms

4) One mile from town or city

5) South-facing lawned garden

6) Conservatory

7) Garage

8) Plenty of storage space

9) Half-hour commute to work

10) Close to transport links and a local shop

And the reality of modern house-buying pressures appears to be affecting even our aspirational homes: those in their 20s say they dream of a modern semi-detached house with two and a half bedrooms, two bathrooms, a small grass lawn and a location within a quarter of a mile to the nearest town or city centre and up to an hour’s commute from work.

Lawrence Hall, Zoopla spokesman, said: “Forget chocolate-box cottages, swimming pools and sweeping drives – our ideal homes are practical and best suited for our family lives... Finding the right balance between a comfortable, spacious home and a convenient commute to work is evidently more of a priority for Brits than finding a mansion in France, or Malibu beach house”.