The importance of good neighbours came to the fore in 2020 and it is highlighted further, with this insight from the Press Associations finance correspondent Vicky Shay.
A priceless benefit
For many people, having friendly and helpful neighbours in their community is a priceless benefit. But according to a new report from Halifax, having good neighbours can translate to actual financial savings too.
Halifax estimates that those benefiting from neighbours’ acts of kindness save £165 per year typically.
From lending a lawnmower to picking up the shopping and looking after pets, it seems the benefits of having a good relationship with neighbours really can add up financially.
The survey of over 4,000 people found that the most common deeds performed by kind neighbours that save people money on their doorsteps include collecting groceries (12%), watering plants (10%) and looking after pets (8%).People said they receive some form of help from their neighbours three times a month typically, the bank’s ‘Community Counts’ report found.
On average, those who are getting neighbourly help receive 10 hours of support a month, with this increasing to 12 hours since the start of the pandemic. On average, the most time-consuming favour that people do for their neighbours is helping out with DIY, which typically takes 42 minutes.
The highest cash savings were found to come from neighbours looking after kids (with those benefiting make a saving £313 per year on average), helping out with cleaning (a typical £276 saving) and pet-sitting (saving £248 on average).
Saving money on taxis and public transport, nearly one in eight (12%) people surveyed have had a lift from a neighbour when they’ve needed one.
There are also benefits of convenience, as well as cash savings from having good neighbours.
More than half (52%) say their neighbours have taken in parcels for them when they’ve not been there to open the door, and more than a quarter (27%) get help with taking their bins out.
The types of tasks neighbours help out with have changed since the pandemic started, however. Halifax found people are now more likely to get support from neighbours picking up shopping, but less likely to need help watering plants, as more people have been staying at home – so can take care of these tasks themselves.
It’s likely that neighbours will increasingly help each other out in the future too.
A quarter (25%) of people surveyed say their relationship with their neighbours has improved since the Covid-19 crisis started. Only 3% said it had deteriorated.
A third (32%) would have found it harder to cope during the pandemic without their neighbours, rising to two-fifths (38%) of those aged 18-34.
Good neighbours would also be a strong factor for people in any future house moves, the research found. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of people say that if they were looking to buy a new home, having good neighbours and a strong community would be important, increasing to eight in 10 (81%) among people aged over-55.