What is really important to families in their residential environment? And how happy are the Germans in comparison to other countries? Bonava, the largest German project developer for residential real estate, has got to the bottom of these questions within a representative survey.

Bonava interviewed people from eight countries (Sweden, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Norway, St. Petersburg, Estonia, and Latvia) about what makes them happy in their residential environment. The survey took place from December 2016 to January 2017 and a total of 8,000 responses were evaluated.

The Happy Index indicates the satisfaction of people in their residential environment and allows a comparison with other countries in Northern Europe. According to the results of this index, Germany is behind the Swedes with an index score of 74. Denmark is right alongside Germany in the index. That means that, after the Swedes, the Germans are the second happiest in their residential environment.

What do German families consider to be important for a sense of wellbeing?

• Security: 82% of all families feel comfortable in their neighbourhood when they feel safe. This is the case for 73% of respondents.

• Mobility: Short distances are important for families. Whether the journey is to school, nursery, or to do the shopping, 71% of the interviewees want to do their errands on foot or by bike. This is possible for 65% of the families surveyed.

What do families in Germany want from their residential environment?

• Engagement: Many families would like to be more involved in their neighbourhood. That’s important for 42% of respondents, but only 32% feel they are sufficiently involved in their neighbourhood.

• Age structure: Less than half of all families surveyed (45%) want a generational mix in their residential environment.

• Cohesion: Families move where there is a sense of community with nearby playgrounds. Families are more likely than singles to exchange and share books, toys, or gardening.

What is the difference between German families and other Northern European families?

• Uncertainty: Less than half of all families in St. Petersburg feel secure in their living environment. In Germany, this rises to 73%.

• Mobility: 56% of Danes and Norwegians want to be able to walk or cycle around their neighbourhood. In Germany, this rises to 71%.

• Leaving cities for the countryside: 63% of German families place importance on a green residential environment. In the Scandinavian countries, this is important for less than half of all respondents. In St. Petersburg, the desire for a green neighbourhood is the highest. Here, 81% of respondents want much more greenery in the city.

• Comfort: Russian families love it: 87% of Russian families want their everyday life to be as practical and comfortable as possible. In Germany, this falls to 70%, while it’s important for only 38% of Danes.

“Bonava doesn’t just build houses, it also takes the entire residential environment into consideration. For us, it is important to know what factors make a working neighbourhood, because it has a decisive influence on the satisfaction of the residents”, says Andreas Fohrenkamm, CEO of Bonava in Germany. “During the planning of new projects, we must, of course, take into account the needs of future residents so that the residential environment can later function as a vibrant neighbourhood.”

Image: Caroline Hernandez / unsplash