Think that’s barking mad? Those are the findings from Suncorp’s Home Index Report which surveyed more than 1,600 Australians.

The survey found that Australians place more importance on the home’s pet-friendliness rather than its proximity to family (46%) and friends (39%).

More than a third of pet owners (38%) admitted to loving their pets more than their human family members.

Suncorp EGM Lending Glenn Haslam said the findings show pets are becoming more important members of the family.

“Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, so there is no question – pets are adored members of the modern Australian family,” Mr Haslam said.

“This is even true for younger generations with 59% of those aged 18-34 placing importance on a potential new home’s pet-friendliness.

“It can be difficult to find a home that ticks all of the boxes, so buyers need to make sacrifices and prioritise what’s most important to keep within budget – and this can sometimes mean living further away from friends and family.”

Ray White New Farm Principal Matt Lancashire said pet-friendly properties tend to have higher sale prices and more rental applications.

“More than two-thirds of households now own pets. 30% of Australians rent and 62% own a pet, but last year, just 10% of rental of homes were labelled as pet-friendly. It certainly doesn’t just stop at renting either,” Mr Lancashire said.

“One of the main questions we get asked by potential buyers is if it is a pet-friendly building. If a building is pet-friendly, there’s certainly a positive impact on price due to increased competition.”

Apart from being pet-friendly, the research found the most important factor when buying a home was how it looks on the inside (73%) followed by distance from shops, schools and hospitals (72%).

Difficulty in finding a suitable property was said to be the most challenging factor when buying a home (26%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, those aged between 18-34 were more likely to not have a large enough deposit, while 35-54 year-olds were more likely to be unable to afford the home they want.

The research also found that 7 in 10 Australians stick to their budget when buying a new home, while those aged 55 and over were less likely to go over budget.

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