How COVID is changing property

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in so many ways and now new research reveals that it is having a drastic effect on what people want in a home, and could be a boon for older Australians living in big houses who are looking to downsize.

The CUA has released its home sentiment survey, which shows that more than half of Australians think that homes offering a dedicated office space or rooms large enough to accommodate work desks are important considerations for their next home purchase.

A fast internet connection also would be a key consideration for 68 per cent of people when they were looking to make their next home purchase, emphasising the importance of home office considerations.

The increased interest in home office considerations when purchasing property is also causing major changes in location considerations.

Traditional locations factors such as being close to public transport or living near work are now less important for a fifth of people, according to the survey results.

Real estate agent Piers van Hamburg, at Di Jones Real Estate in Sydney, said the insights from the survey suggest a potential change in the popularity of some suburbs and property types in the months ahead.

“COVID-19 threw everything into a state of flux when it hit our shores in early 2020 and it has made Australians rethink what is essential in the home moving forward,” Mr van Hamburg said.

“Our Southern Highlands team in regional NSW has seen an exponential increase in buyer demand for the area, as flexible working arrangements become the norm.”

Last month, RiskWise Property Research chief executive Doron Peleg explained that the prospect of a tree change or a sea change was becoming more attractive as more people were working remotely.

“Australians have had a taste of working from home over the last few months, and are now able to continue to work remotely, and it’s these buyers who are now seeking lifestyle properties and avoiding higher density locations,” Mr Peleg said.

“COVID-19 had helped strengthen ‘work from home’ opportunities, meaning owner-occupiers can take advantage of ‘lifestyle’ prospects instead of being tied to employment hubs.”

The CUA survey also revealed that two-fifths of respondents think a large kitchen is more important now than it was pre-pandemic, hinting at an increased interest in home cooking.

The ramifications of lockdowns led to nearly two-thirds of Australians (64 per cent) nominating a reduced cost of living as a key factor when considering a new place to live, while one in 10 are thinking of moving further away from the city or closer to nature to live a quieter lifestyle. A similar proportion are considering a move closer to family and nearly a fifth (17 per cent) are waiting to see what happens in the market.

While the types of property people are looking for post-pandemic has changed, attitudes towards buying property has also shifted with 32 per cent of people saying that they were in a worse position in terms of buying property than before COVID-19.

One in 10 respondents also said that they had considered buying an investment property or their own property pre-pandemic, but have now put those plans on hold.

Do you think the changing attitudes to property seen in the past few months have made your property more valuable? Do you still favour living close to a capital city? What is important to you in a retirement location?

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Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.
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