As life slowly returns to normal—or a new normal—homebuyers are coming out of pandemic life with some new priorities when it comes to their next home.
According to a recently released realtor.com® survey conducted by HarrisX, a need for more space is the No. 1 factor behind a person’s decision to buy a new home in the coming year. And although the majority of today’s buyers are looking for three bedrooms and two baths, their responses also indicate that their top priority is more flexibility in a home’s space, and they’re willing to exchange a short commute in order to afford it.
“The COVID pandemic ushered in a new way of thinking about what home means, and that is influencing much of what today’s home shoppers are looking for,” said George Ratiu, senior economist, realtor.com®. “Garages, large backyards and space for pets always rank high on buyers’ wish lists, but those features have grown in importance. The survey results highlight that the pandemic has elevated our relationship with family as well as the need for our home to serve multiple purposes, especially the ability to work remotely. As a result, we are placing a premium on the need to accommodate extended family, and features like a home office and broadband internet.”
Which home features have become a priority as a result of the pandemic? Here are the top 10:
A quiet location – 28%
Updated kitchen – 25%
Garage – 24%
Large backyard – 24%
Outdoor living area – 20%
Space for pets – 18%
Updated bathrooms – 19%
Home office – 17%
Broadband internet capabilities – 17%
Open floor plan – 16%
Homebuyers are also looking for more space; 65% of respondents indicated that they are considering extended family when they shop for a home, with nearly a quarter stating that they are planning to buy near family members. One-fifth of those surveyed said they would have extended family living with them full-time, and 30% said their new home would need to accommodate extended family staying with them part-time or visiting.
Decreasing in importance from prior surveys was the need for a short commute time and a home with smaller square footage. Only 9% indicated a short commute time was a priority, and 4% were looking for smaller square footage. This was down from 11% and 8%, respectively, in early March 2020 prior to the pandemic.