Bankwest study reveals shift in home-buying preferences due to COVID-19

The home features Western Australians consider important also changed

Bankwest study reveals shift in home-buying preferences due to COVID-19


By Mina Martin

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a significant shift in home-buying preferences that support more women working from home, Bankwest’s Home Truths Report has revealed.

The survey of more than 1,700 Australians, with a focus on WA, revealed that there has been a paradigm shift in housing preferences due to the pandemic, with 44% of WA respondents saying working from home had changed what they desired in an ideal property. That figure increases for WA’s millennials and Gen-Zs, with 50% and 76%, respectively, saying the impacts of the pandemic had changed their preferences.

A quarter of the respondents reported working from home at least once a week, with 50% confirming the pandemic resulted in an increase in performing their role remotely.

With the pandemic shifting the accepted social norms of flexible working, the home features Western Australians considered important had also changed, with 91% looking for more space/rooms. A dedicated study/home office has become the most desirable feature, with 53% of the respondents labelling it as important, while 34% said it was the most important consideration.

The pandemic also impacted the housing preferences and working patterns of Australian men and women differently, with more of the latter working from home and desiring more space.

Some 27% of WA’s women said they work from home at least once a week, with 54% saying that increased due to COVID-19, compared to 22% and 47% of men, respectively. The biggest difference was in the feature they considered as more important, with more women nationally (47%) considering study/home office as important compared to men (30%).

“Western Australians have shown incredible resilience throughout the global pandemic, consistently adapting to manage constantly changing conditions,” said Peter Bouhlas (pictured above), Bankwest general manager homebuying. “These Home Truths insights suggest that those changes have also extended to people’s housing preferences in response to a broader acceptance of flexible working arrangements due to pandemic health measures.

“Increased requirements to work from home likely exposed the inadequacies of many houses to function as a fulltime office, simply because our properties weren’t designed to be offices. Flexible working has become more broadly accepted due to COVID and this data shows more people are working flexibly, so it makes sense that more of us are considering and prioritising features that enable us to do that.

“We also know how important a positive flexible culture is to enabling women to participate in the workplace, and these figures show that more women have adopted flexible working following the pandemic.”

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