From borrowing a lawn mower to picking up the groceries and looking after our pets, the benefits of a good relationship with neighbors add up financially.
These seemingly minor acts of kindness saved Britons £ 165 this year – with a whopping £ 5.8 billion in annual savings nationwide on average per year. The biggest savings come from neighbors who look after children (£ 313 a year), help with cleaning (£ 276) and pet sitters (£ 248).
With three quarters (72%) of Britons prioritizing a strong community when buying a home, new research from Halifax reveals the many benefits a friendly face next door can bring – from saving money to supporting our wellbeing and our mental health.
A survey of over 4,000 people found that the most common acts we do on our doorstep that save money include grocery shopping (12%), watering plants (10%), and taking care of pets (8%) . Britons on neighborly assistance receive an average of 10 hours of support per month, which has increased to 12 hours since the start of the pandemic.
More than half (52%) say their neighbors have taken parcels for them and more than a quarter (27%) get help taking out the trash.
A friendly face next door promotes well-being
The power of a strong community goes beyond pennies in our wallets: Nearly three-quarters of Britons (71%) feel a positive impact on their mental health and well-being by living in a strong and supportive community.
Millions of Britons are closer to the people they live with than ever before, with one in four (25%) having improved their relationship with their neighbors since the start of the pandemic and only 3% saying their relationship has deteriorated.
One third (32%) would have found it more difficult to cope during the pandemic without their neighbors, rising to two fifths (38%) of 18-34 year olds, the highest of all age groups. Chatting about the garden gate (26%), clapping to caretakers (24%) and discussing the current situation (20%) were the things that brought neighbors across the country the closest.
Two-fifths (40%) say their neighbors were an important part of maintaining morale during the pandemic and a quarter of Britons (25%) agree that talking to a neighbor has benefited their mental health.
Four in ten (38%) say a neighbor or member of their local community made them less lonely during the pandemic.
Almost three-fifths (58%) now consider their neighbors friends, an improvement of 13% since the start of the pandemic. This number has increased most among 18-34 year olds, with a quarter (25%) making new friends in the local community. Previously, a third (32%) of Britons couldn’t name their neighbor. Now 80% use their first name and almost half (48%) would miss their neighbors if they moved.
The future neighborhood and a more socially conscious community
The importance of the community continues to emerge as millions of Britons face uncertainty. More than two-fifths (42%) believe having a strong community around them is more important now than it was before the pandemic. Nearly two-thirds (65%) plan to make an effort to support their neighbors and local community once the pandemic is over.
More than a third (35%) will now turn to their neighbors in crisis where they may not have done so before, and 63% of Britons feel reassured that their neighbors will be there for them in the future.
Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax said, “Choosing where to live isn’t just about the bricks and mortar, it’s about creating a home and building memories with the people around us. As we continue to face challenges as a result of the pandemic, people’s neighborhoods are more important than ever and there are real benefits to being closer to the people we live closest to. We want to recognize the resilience of communities across the country and showcase those acts of kindness that have meant so much to many. “
This research is part of the Community Counts report, an in-depth look at the benefits of having strong relationships with those we are closest to.