Although the Covid-19 lockdown is already starting to become a distant memory for most of us; the pandemic has caused some homebuyers to think differently about what they want when it comes to buying their next property.
Larger gardens and bigger decks are in, along with a room for a home office and reliable internet – particularly when it comes to rural locations.
Bindi Norwell, Chief Operating Officer of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, is seeing the changing trends first-hand via the organisations nationwide network of member agencies.
Perhaps fearing another Alert Level 4 lockdown she says the institute has noticed a lot of buyer interest in homes with outdoor rooms and spa pools.
“People want to be able to really make the most of their own backyards,” says Bindi. “More people want large outdoor areas, backyards, and decks.”
“Unsurprisingly, homes with an office or study – or even a space that can be used as a makeshift office – are also becoming more sought after as people realise the benefits of working from home, reducing their commute time, and spending more time with their family.”
“Fast and reliable internet has become even more important to buyers – and could be a deal-breaker if it’s not available at a home for sale.”
“Technology is another important issue real estate agents are being asked about when marketing properties in more rural locations,” says Bindi.
“One agent I was talking to recently told me about a family he was helping to find a new home. They wanted to move from Auckland city to a popular rural area north of Auckland. But before they made the move, they wanted to ensure the property had excellent broadband – and this was non-negotiable for them for work reasons.”
And it seems those with larger homes, perhaps empty-nesters, have had time to reflect and reconsider their options too.
“There’s also anecdotal evidence of people choosing to downsize following weeks of being locked in their home,” says Bindi. “I think it has caused some people to realise that the upkeep of a large house with a large backyard is just too much for them.”
Barfoot & Thompson agent Anna Lechtchinski says her buyers prefer less crowded areas in locations such as Avondale, an area west of Auckland’s CBD. “People are looking for free-standing homes, and that’s what you get in my area,” she says.
In the Capital, Harcourts agent Erin Rush says that while she’s been rushed off her feet by an influx of buyers chasing limited stock there’s no evidence they are looking for anything different than before Covid-19.
And in Christchurch, Ray White Metro real estate agent Rebecca Toone says her buyers haven’t really changed what they are looking for either. That may be because homes in the Garden City typically have larger gardens than those in most parts of Auckland and Wellington.