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.

Update resultsUpdate
LenderHome LoanInterest Rate Comparison Rate* Monthly Repayment Repayment type Rate Type Offset Redraw Ongoing Fees Upfront Fees LVR Lump Sum Repayment Additional Repayments Split Loan Option TagsFeaturesLinkCompare
6.04% p.a.
6.06% p.a.
Principal & Interest
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5.99% p.a.
5.90% p.a.
Principal & Interest
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  • No application or ongoing fees. Annual rate discount
  • Unlimited redraws & additional repayments. LVR <80%
  • A low-rate variable home loan from a 100% online lender. Backed by the Commonwealth Bank.
6.14% p.a.
6.16% p.a.
Principal & Interest
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  • Redraw freely - Access your additional payments when you need them
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Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

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. Some products will be marked as promoted, featured or sponsored and may appear prominently in the tables regardless of their attributes. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the product provider’s website. 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 . 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

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