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Buyers want good neighbors, dog-friendly cities

Good neighbors and dog-friendly places are on the top of many movers’ priority lists, according to a couple of newly released surveys. A whopping 62% of respondents to one recent survey reported they’d “consider moving to a new home to better accommodate their dog,” and 73% of respondents to another survey say they want to make friends with their new (human) neighbors.

“This year, we spent an extraordinary amount of time with our pets, and many of us relied on their companionship more than ever. As a result, our emotional bonds with our pets also strengthened,” said Kate Jaffe, trends expert at Rover, which teamed up with Zillow to conduct pet owners. “Pets are taking on an even greater role in our families, so it follows that our dogs’ needs are a top priority for pet parents considering a new home.”

In another recent Bank of America survey of 2,000 adults who currently own a home or plan to in the future, 51% of buyers between 18 and 43 and 32% of older generations (ages 57 to 75) say community has become more important over the past year. Specifically, potential movers say they’re looking for good neighbors who share similar interests (73%) and are active in the community (70%). Along with a desire for more room for their pets, more overall space and smart home technology, individuals are looking for a sense of connectedness and belonging when it comes to where they live.

The survey found that across all generations, homeowners were more likely than non-homeowners to say they like their neighbors (42% vs. 29%) and neighborhood (44% vs. 32%) more now than they did a year ago. The feeling of safety is also important when it comes to home surroundings and community. Over two-thirds (68%) of younger prospective homebuyers and three quarters (75%) of younger homeowners say safety and security have become greater priorities when choosing where they will live.

The need for space has traditionally meant a move to the suburbs. While 42% of younger prospective buyers currently live in cities, only 24% want to own a home there. Half (48%) want to buy in the suburbs and 29% want to buy in rural areas. This is an increase from last summer, when 18% indicated a desire to purchase a home in a rural area.

The evolving home

In addition to renewing the desire for having good neighbors, the past year has also given people a peek into the homes of their coworkers, family and friends amidst the virtual environment. Three quarters (75%) have participated in video calls, and of this group, 37% have gotten ideas for something to do in their own home. A quarter (25%) have even asked others for information on where something was purchased or how a certain renovation was done based on what they saw.

The home has become more than a place people leave in the morning and come back to at the end of the day. Two-thirds (66%) of all respondents agree that activities done in the home have changed, and this is especially true for younger generations (77%).

Those ages 18 to 43 are using their homes as an office (45%), a school (31%), a movie theater (28%) and a gym (27%).

While fewer, respondents ages 57 to 75 are also using their homes as an office (28%), a movie theater (24%) and a gym (14%).

Additionally, younger prospective buyers are expressing a desire for new technologies in their homes, including smart/Wi-Fi enabled security systems (51%), solar energy products (42%), and smart/Wi-Fi enabled appliances (44%).

Across all generations, homeowners were more likely than non-homeowners to say they like their neighbors (42% vs. 29%) and neighborhood (44% vs. 32%) more now than they did a year ago. The feeling of safety is also important when it comes to home surroundings and community. Over two-thirds (68%) of younger prospective homebuyers and three quarters (75%) of younger homeowners say safety and security have become greater priorities when choosing where they will live.

A desire for more space

Beyond a sense of community, as prospective homebuyers have spent more time at home, they have re-evaluated and placed greater importance on the amount of space they need, both inside and outside. Nearly half (48%) of prospective homebuyers between 18 and 43 say the importance of square footage has increased, and 60% say outdoor space is more important to them now.

The need for space has traditionally meant a move to the suburbs. While 42% of younger prospective buyers currently live in cities, only 24% want to own a home there. Half (48%) want to buy in the suburbs and 29% want to buy in rural areas. This is an increase from last summer, when 18% indicated a desire to purchase a home in a rural area.

Zillow/Rover top five dog-friendly cities

Now, back to the movers who are looking for the best places for their pups. According to the survey, Denver took the top spot, largely because of the number of new Rover accounts created, followed by Orlando and Anaheim. Orlando experienced strong growth (4%) in the number of rentals listed as dog-friendly during the pandemic, and has one of the highest shares of for-sale listings mentioning dog parks. The share of for-sale listings that feature a dog run in Anaheim was among the highest of all markets analyzed.

A large majority of dog owners surveyed (86%) said dog-friendly features—things like a home with a dog door or living near a dog park—are an important factor in their moving decision, and 84% said they are willing to spend more for these features. A fenced-in outdoor space is the most-desired home feature for dog owners—and the share of listings mentioning fenced yards and outdoor spaces grew more during the pandemic than any other dog-friendly feature Zillow analyzed. But interested buyers should strike quickly when a home with a yard for their dog catches their eye—homes sold five days faster than expected last year when the listing mentioned a fenced yard.

These are the top five dog-friendly cities, according. to Zillow/Rover. The full list of 15 can be seen here.

  1. Denver, CO
  2. Orlando, FL
  3. Anaheim, CA
  4. Charlotte, NC
  5. Birmingham, AL

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