How COVID-19 is changing Australian home ownership goals

author-avatar By
on July 06, 2020
How COVID-19 is changing Australian home ownership goals

Photo by Maximillian Conacher on Unsplash

Months of being stuck in isolation has made Australians crave more outdoor space and a dedicated home office, a new study reveals.

A Westpac survey of 1,176 Australians found the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions has had a significant impact on what Australians most want in their next home.

High density apartment living is out and spacious living is top of the agenda, with a third (34%) of those surveyed wanting to live somewhere less populated.

One in three (31%) said they wanted to be closer to parks and shops, and one in five (20%) are seeking suburbs with bigger properties.

Outdoor features like a big backyard (27%) and entertainment area (18%) were top of people's wish lists thanks to COVID-19. 

Having a separate study area (20%) and a big kitchen (15%) were also major priorities.

Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest variable interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

Lender

Variable
More details
UNLIMITED REDRAWSSPECIAL OFFER
  • Fast turnaround times, can meet 30-day settlement
  • For purchase and refinance, min 20% deposit
  • No ongoing or monthly fees, add offset for 0.10%
UNLIMITED REDRAWSSPECIAL OFFER

Smart Booster Home Loan Discounted Variable - 2yr (LVR < 80%)

  • Fast turnaround times, can meet 30-day settlement
  • For purchase and refinance, min 20% deposit
  • No ongoing or monthly fees, add offset for 0.10%
Variable
More details
AN EASY DIGITAL APPLICATION
  • No ongoing fees - None!
  • Unlimited additional repayments
  • Easy online application, find out if you're approved quick!
  • Redraw- Access your additional payments if you need them
  • Use the app to get loan insights to help you pay off your home loan faster
AN EASY DIGITAL APPLICATION

Neat Variable Home Loan (Principal and Interest) (LVR < 60%)

  • No ongoing fees - None!
  • Unlimited additional repayments
  • Easy online application, find out if you're approved quick!
  • Redraw- Access your additional payments if you need them
  • Use the app to get loan insights to help you pay off your home loan faster
Variable
More details
100% FULL OFFSET ACCOUNTNO APPLICATION FEE OR ONGOING FEES
  • No upfront or ongoing fees
  • 100% full offset account
  • Extra repayments + redraw services
100% FULL OFFSET ACCOUNTNO APPLICATION FEE OR ONGOING FEES

Low Rate Home Loan - Prime (Principal and Interest) (Owner Occupied) (LVR < 60%)

  • No upfront or ongoing fees
  • 100% full offset account
  • Extra repayments + redraw services
Variable
More details
NSW/VIC/SA METRO & INNER REGIONAL AREAS$5000 CASHBACK. T&Cs APPLY.
  • No upfront or ongoing fees
  • 100% full offset account
  • Extra repayments + redraw services
NSW/VIC/SA METRO & INNER REGIONAL AREAS$5000 CASHBACK. T&Cs APPLY.

Variable Home Loan (Principal and Interest)

  • No upfront or ongoing fees
  • 100% full offset account
  • Extra repayments + redraw services

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of May 29, 2022. View disclaimer.

Westpac Managing Director of Mortgages Anthony Hughes said Australians have had time to reflect on their living space and how it will meet their future needs during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“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."

Read: How much a home office costs to build.

Mr Hughes said he expects many Australians will consider upgrading their home.

“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.”

The study found that Australian homeowners are less likely to prefer high density apartment 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.

This is compared to 22% who preferred a home in an inner-city or urban area in 2019.

Domain research also found that property search behaviour has changed during the pandemic, with searches for home offices more than doubling.

Changes in search property criteria

State/Territory Keyword Increase in searches
VIC Home Office 830%
ACT Studio 414%
VIC Granny Flat 287%
VIC Retreat 159%
NSW Home Office 146%
QLD Retreat 122%
WA Home Office 103%
ACT Home Office 100%
SA Retreat 91%
NSW Balcony 84%
WA Retreat 77%
NSW Garden/Courtyard 74%
TAS Retreat 72%
VIC Balcony 63%
WA Studio 63%
WA Study 55%
VIC Studio 54%
NSW Study 46%
TAS Garage 42%
NT Study 40%

Source: Domain


Disclaimers

The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered. Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site. Savings.com.au, yourmortgage.com.au, yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au, and Performance Drive are part of the Savings Media group. In the interests of full disclosure, the Savings Media Group are associated with the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings Media Group manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please visit the web site links at the bottom of this page.

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author-avatar
Emma Duffy is Assistant Editor at Your Mortgage and  Your Investment Property Mag, which are part of the Savings Media Group. In this role, she manages a team of journalists and expert contributors committed to keeping readers informed about the latest home loan and finance news and trends, as well as providing in-depth property guides. She is also a finance journalist at Savings.com.au which she joined shortly after its launch in early 2019. Emma has a Bachelor in Journalism and has been published in several other publications and been featured on radio.

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