people sitting in park
"features that allow for more community living are shifting higher and higher on homeowners’ priority lists"

A new survey from Stockland reveals evolving preferences among residential buyers for sustainability, especially environmental and community features.

According to the survey of nearly 1000 respondents, 54 per cent of respondents said that sustainable and environmental home features were more important to them now than they were 10 years ago, and 22 per cent said the purchase of ethical and sustainable items for their home was important.

Smaller homes and smaller backyards

More than 60 per cent of Australians were even prepared to give up a big backyard and downsize to a smaller home, if the tradeoff was better connection to neighbours, community parks and green spaces.

In particular respondents nominated more walking paths, community gardens and recreation spaces and fewer roads as more desirable.

General manager residential sales at Stockland Stephanie Vanin said people were looking for “low-maintenance homes located within communities that offer great amenity, social connectivity and physical closeness with their neighbours and wider community.

“The actual home is still important, however, features that allow for more community living are shifting higher and higher on homeowners’ priority lists.

“That old sense of belonging and knowing your neighbours is more important than ever before.”

Among the sustainability features desired was automated recycling (with those over 55 years the most excited about the prospect).

Ms Vanin said buyers were more attuned to the benefits of sustainable home design today than they were a decade ago.

“The costs of many features such as LED lighting and solar panels are also much more affordable today and buyers now understand the long terms cost benefits of these features for future energy savings to them and the broader benefits to the environment.”

Big moves are more popular

The 2020 property survey shows that people are more willing to move away from their home patch to buy a more affordable home and for lifestyle and job opportunities, with 36 per cent of respondents considering a move interstate.

In NSW that 44 per cent were “specifically toying with the idea to cross borders.”

Stated reasons were better lifestyle (57 per cent), better job opportunities (42 per cent) and to buy the home you want for less (32 per cent).

The survey was by an internal research team. It involved 914 respondents, mostly skewed towards current and former Stockland customers.

Key preference trends include:

  • Smaller lots, more efficient, well-designed homes that make the most of the space
  • Smaller backyards with more recreation spaces and parks closer to communities
  • Sustainability features as normal and expected in homes rather than add ons
  • Willingness to move further afield with 36 per cent of those surveyed considering a move interstate
  • Health and wellbeing are key, with walkability and liveability
  • Social connectivity and sustainability – for instance, with meetup groups and community gardens
  • Freestanding homes still preferred but more like townhouses/semis
  • affordability, ease of public transport and the quality of the home are priorities

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