COVID-19 changing Australian home ownership goals

by Madison Utley06 Jul 2020

Research from Westpac has illuminated how COVID-19 restrictions have shaped what Australians want most in their next home, as people have had time to reflect on how their living space could better meet their needs moving forward.

Perhaps most notably, Australian homeowners are less likely to prefer higher-density living in a post-pandemic world, with more than three quarters (77%) saying they would now prefer to live in a house because of COVID-19.

“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,” said Anthony Hughes, Westpac managing director of mortgages.

“Our research suggests that this has started a behavioural shift in what Australians want in a home, with people now seeking more space outdoors, proximity to parks and beaches, and even larger properties.”

Of those surveyed, a third (34%) indicated they want to live somewhere less populated, one in three (31%) would like to live closer to either parks or shops, and one in five (20%) are now seeking suburbs with larger properties.

“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,” said Hughes.

As such, having a separate study area (20%) and large kitchen (15%) sat high on the list of future criteria. For outdoor spaces, features such as a spacious backyard (27%) and entertainment area (18%) are now considered more important in light of COVID-19.

“With the government’s recently announced HomeBuilder grants, we expect more Australians will be considering a major renovation to upgrade their home to better meet their needs, or even starting a new home build to cater for their changing lifestyle,” Hughes added.