How COVID-19 has forever changed the Australian home

How COVID-19 has changed Australian homes forever – with the ONE thing many people are now happy to go without

  • Residential developer Stockland revealed how COVID-19 has changed homes
  • Fewer Australian are prioritising living near a major city centre since pandemic 
  • This has changed dramatically since the first case of coronavirus in Australia 

By Stephen Johnson For Daily Mail Australia

Published: | Updated:

One of Australia’s biggest residential developers has revealed how the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed what people want in a house.

With an increasing number of people working from home, Stockland is now catering for home buyers who are far less interested in being near the city centre.

Stockland’s general manager of community sales, Stephanie Mackenzie, said Australia’s outer suburbs and regional areas needed to cater for the new legions of workers who didn’t need to leave their area every day.

One of Australia’s biggest residential developers has revealed how the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed what people want in a home. With an increasing number of people working from home, Stockland is now catering for home buyers who are far less interested in being near the city centre. Pictured is Bokarina Beach north of Caloundra on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast

‘We’re definitely seeing patterns emerging where we’re rethinking whether or not we need to live as close to work as what we did,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

How COVID-19 has changed housing

Space is increasingly more important than being near the city

Home owners want a dedicated study with good technological connectivity that can easily be converted back to a bedroom

Professionals working from home in suburbs and regions want cosmopolitan cafes, restaurants near them 

A Stockland poll of more than 1,199 people in August found 38 per cent of potential home buyers were more interested in space than being close to the city.  

In January, before the first case of COVID-19 came to Australia, just 19 per cent of people told a similar Stockland survey space was more important than proximity to the city. 

Major changes in work arrangements has made a separate study room a priority for 40 per cent of respondents.

Ms Mackenzie said the house of the future for families would have a dedicated study room that could easily be converted back into a bedroom. 

‘We will start to see multipurpose rooms where you have the flexibility,’ she said.

‘There’s definitely a need for greater light, greater connectivity within the home – the ability to connect but also disconnect space.

‘If you’re thinking about a family that has mum and dad both working, children at school, everybody needs space.’

One in ten people are also considering moving for lifestyle reasons. 

Houses and apartments near the city centre are traditionally more expensive than homes further away but demographers and economists are expecting new working-from-home arrangements to change this.

A Stockland poll of more than 1,199 people in August found 38 per cent of potential home buyers were more interested in space than being close to the city. In January, before the first case of COVID-19 came to Australia, just 19 per cent of people told a similar Stockland survey space was more important than proximity to the city. Pictured is Sydney’s Town Hall station in September 2019

Stockland, which also owns suburban shopping malls, is expecting professionals working from home instead of the city to demand cosmopolitan cafes and restaurants in their suburbs.

‘We’re wanting the convenience of the services that we have in the inner city that we’ve been accustomed to,’ Ms Mackenzie said. 

‘There’s a real shift of Australians wanting that convenience brought to them.’ 

High immigration levels before the pandemic saw a surge in Sydney house prices.

Major changes in work arrangements has made a separate study a priority for 40 per cent of respondents. One in ten people are also considering moving for lifestyle reasons

This in turn led to an influx of investors buying houses in the outer suburbs in the hope of making strong capital gains.

An August 2020 paper by property researchers Mustapha Bangura, from Western Sydney University, and Chyi Lin Lee from the University of New South Wales noted a house price bubble was more likely in western Sydney than any other part of greater Sydney.

They concluded there was ‘strong evidence of explosive price bubbles in Western Sydney, while there is no comparable evidence for the other regions of Sydney’ based on rents failing to keep pace with capital growth in these suburbs.

Stockland, which also owns suburban shopping malls, is expecting professionals working from home instead of the city to demand cosmopolitan cafes and restaurants in their suburbs

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