COVID-19 is making people rethink where they want to live


Aussies have become increasingly dissatisfied with aspects of their homes after being cooped indoors for longer periods during the pandemic.

The result is that almost three in four are rethinking the kind of home and neighbourhood they want to live in, according to research commissioned by developer Stockland.

And one in five said the pandemic accelerated their plans to buy a house.

The main grievance for homeowners was a lack of indoor and outdoor space, with most prospective buyers now putting a higher value on storage space, studies and private outdoor space.

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First homebuyers and younger families were also graving more bedrooms, bigger homes, multipurpose rooms and larger blocks.

The research also revealed a shift in location preferences, with close to two in five Aussies now prioritising space over proximity to a CBD, according to the research.

Access to amenities such as schools, healthcare and shops was still considered critical, despite the drive for space over CBD proximity.

These attitude shifts were more significant than changes in attitudes towards health.

More than 80 per cent of Australians said they were more conscious of their home due to the pandemic, compared to the 73 per cent who reported being more likely to take better care of their wellbeing.

Stockland general manager for sales Stephanie Mackenzie said the phrase “there’s no place like home” is ringing true.

“The global pandemic has forced Australians to spend more time in their homes and communities,” she said.

“People (now) think more critically about whether their current home and neighbourhood meets their needs and lifestyles and, importantly, the impact of these on the health and wellbeing of their families.

“A new trend has emerged, with Australians now wanting the convenience and services of the inner city but the space and community living of the suburbs.”

Australian social researcher Dr Rebecca Huntley said the pandemic was shifting our view of how we should live.

“(There’s) a significant shift in our desire for personal space but also closeness and connectedness to the world around us,” she said. “Our homes have always been important to us but they are now our everything.”

Interior stylist Megan Morton said the layout of homes, backyards and communities has been placed under the spotlight this year.

“Space has always been an important factor to home design and satisfaction but even more so now with people spending such a significant amount of time at home,” she said.

Cranebrook resident Sam Robson said being at home more often made her realise how important it was living in the right area and in a big enough home.

“The only thing we could do during lockdown was go to the shops or for a walk, we benefited a lot from having good walking tracks nearby,” she said.

Ms Robson has been living in the Waterside estate for close to seven years and said the pandemic made her feel vindicated about her choice of home.

“I think we made the right choice because the area is getting a lot more popular,” she said. “Anything that’s coming up for sale is selling pretty quickly.”