Revealed: Buyers' changing housing needs

By Gerv Tacadena

How did the COVID-19 outbreak change what Australians look for in a home?

The impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak have spurred some changes in what Australians look for when buying a home, the latest study from Westpac shows.

Given the stay-at-home restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the disease, Australians are now juggling work, school, and family commitments at home, making spacious living one of their top priorities, according to the study.

Around a third of Australians said they want to live somewhere less populated. Roughly the same said they are likely to look for a house closer to parks and shops. One in five said they would like to live in suburbs with larger properties.

In terms of house features, 45% of Australians want to have a house with backyard and outdoor entertainment while around 20% would like to have a separate study. A larger kitchen was also on the list for 15% of buyers.

The study also revealed that Australian homeowners are less likely to prefer higher-density living in a post-pandemic world. Furthermore, more than three-quarters are likely to prefer to live in a house.

Anthony Hughes, managing director of mortgages at Westpac, said Australians were able to reflect on their living spaces and how these will affect their future needs amid the COVID-19 restrictions.

"For many of us, staying home for an extended period has changed how we use the space we live in, whether that’s home schooling from the kitchen table or setting up a makeshift office in the lounge room," he said.

Hughes said the COVID-19 has started a behavioural shift amongst Australians.

“We are also seeing people wanting their homes to cater for both their professional and personal lives, with one in five Australians wanting a separate study as more businesses adapt to working remotely," he said.

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