How has the pandemic changed home buying intentions?

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New NAB research suggests almost one in 10 Australians have moved within either their own or another state or territory because of COVID and are not planning to return.

More data also details the factors that have become more important to Australian homebuyers since the pandemic.

Good local shopping, restaurants and other amenities and the size of the property are the most important considerations when deciding where to buy, according to around one in two Australians.

The research, which is based on the responses of 2,000 Australians, revealed almost one in five Australians also highlighted the importance of having a study or work area or living in a regional area.

NAB Executive Home Ownership, Andy Kerr said COVID-19 had fundamentally changed how Australians purchase a home.

“The pandemic has impacted the lives of millions of Australians, particularly with how and where they want to live. What we have seen as a result is flexible working providing opportunities for people to live wherever they like and still work from home,” Mr Kerr said.

“Without the daily commute, people are looking at the suburbs that haven’t been available in the past as a viable option to actually own a piece of land and build a house.

“Australians also clearly value lifestyle choices, having that work-life balance and being closer to family. Many of us want to live near a café or supermarket, be able to drop the kids off at school and have access to trains or trams.”

When asked specifically if they moved because of COVID, eight in 10 (80 per cent) of Australians indicated they had not and planned to stay where they are now.

Around seven per cent of all Australians said they moved within their state or territory and plan to stay where they are, and two per cent moved interstate and plan to stay there. In addition, two per cent moved within their state but intend to move back to where they lived previously.

A further eight per cent have not yet moved, but five per cent are planning to move within their own state or territory because of COVID and three per cent interstate.

Australians who had moved or planned to move overwhelmingly said for lifestyle reasons, according to 42 per cent and particularly the case in SA (48 per cent) and QLD (47 per cent).

Around three in 10 people moved for their wellbeing (rising to 42 per cent in WA) or for employment (29 per cent). Just over one in four (26 per cent) wanted to be closer to family and friends (40 per cent in SA and 37 per cent in WA).

COVID also played a key role for three in 10 Australians, with 15 per cent wanting to avoid other COVID restrictions (24 per cent in SA), and 15 per cent to avoid COVID lockdowns (20 per cent in VIC).

“Australians have embraced flexible working during the past 18 months of the pandemic where you don’t need to be in a city office five days a week,” Mr Kerr said.

“Queensland and South Australia have largely avoided lockdowns and restrictions and offer the lifestyle benefits unique to both states. Recent data has also shown us there is great value in buying property in both states where it might be cheaper than renting.

“NSW continues to attract Australians looking for work opportunities, both from within the state and from other states.

“Victorians have endured more than most through the pandemic and the survey tells us that 20 per cent who have moved wanted to avoid lockdowns. Many moved to the regions with areas like Geelong, the Surf Coast and Mornington Peninsula proving popular.”

By state, being close to good local shopping, restaurants and other amenities was highest in Victoria (57 per cent).

Buying a house instead of an apartment (51 per cent) and buying in a metro area (31 per cent) was much more important among buyers in SA. Buying in a metro area was the least important consideration in Queensland (15 per cent).

“It’s clear that Australians want to live near the local café and shopping centre,” Mr Kerr said. “Public transport is a big factor in both NSW and Victoria and our data tells us that suburbs near train and tram lines in both states offer great value to purchase a home or apartment.”

“The data suggests South Australians value a house in the metropolitan suburbs rather than apartments. They are able to enjoy the ease of a short commute along with the added benefit with close proximity to beaches and wine regions.

“Apartment living was popular in both NSW and the ACT with plenty of opportunities to find a bargain in both states. Those living in Sydney can find more affordable options in apartments given the rise in house prices in 2021.”

 

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