THE AUSTRALIAN soap opera Neighbors may be over, but the moral of its theme will be with us for some time to come – after all, everyone needs good neighbours.

A new survey has uncovered exactly what makes the perfect neighbor, the one who will be there for each other and just a step away.

Top characteristics, as defined by people living in the southeast, include volunteering (33%), checking in older community members (31%), and picking up trash in and around the area ( 29%).

Nationally, donating to food banks, doing odd jobs for community members and keeping the garden clean and tidy were also high on the list.

The study also found that a fifth would consider someone trusted to look after a neighbour’s keys, pets and plants a great citizen, with the same number citing local shopping as a virtue.

It also emerged that 36% of people in the South East region feel ‘useful’ when they do something that they believe benefits their community, while 41% (vs. 30% national average) are proud to help their local community.

A study of 2,000 Britons revealed the top 40 factors that make up the ideal community member, with 21% of people in the South East region believing they fit the perfect citizen model, compared to 15% nationally.

The research was commissioned by homebuilder Redrow and found that 53% of people living in the South East had become good friends with their neighbors through their help in their community.

Mark Vanson, Sales Director at Redrow Southern Counties, said: “Far from nightmarish neighbours, this research paints a picture of model citizens we would love to live next door to. There’s a lot of talk about community spirit and whether there’s enough of it in the UK right now.

“We strive to provide a better way of life for people, and that means thinking about the whole of development and the community. Our research gives great advice on how you can be the best citizen you can be and brighten the lives of those around you.

However, 44% of respondents in the South East said they consider themselves ‘average’ citizens, who do not go above and beyond in their area and 29% think they could still do ‘much’ more. Only 14% feel they are doing as much as they could.

Of those who think they could give more, 38% struggle after a week of hard work and 22% don’t think they live in a place that feels “community”.

Respondents said the main benefit of a more community-oriented neighborhood in the South East region would simply be having someone to talk to (34%). 26% would like their neighbors to watch them and 18% would like to go to more social events.

Mr Vanson added: “Our research shows that homeowners living with a high level of community spirit are happier, which is why we ensure that all our developments follow our ‘Listen to Learn’ placemaking design principle.

“This approach recognizes that a successful place to live is one that meets the needs and aspirations of the local community and is carefully designed to encourage sustainable community engagement.

“From buying local to saving older community members, we understand that communities thrive when they are made up of good citizens who care for each other and respect their environment and those in it.”