Most homebuyers prefer properties with backyards – survey

by Duffie Osental29 May 2019

When hunting for homes, most New Zealander homebuyers prefer properties with backyards.

According to a recent Westpac NZ survey, the vast majority of New Zealanders still dream of owning a home with a backyard. The survey found that 49% consider a backyard “essential” when buying a home, while a further 42% think it would be “nice to have.”

“It’s interesting to see that people consider having a backyard much more important than living close to work, public transport, parks, or schools,” said Robert Hill, housing lead at Westpac NZ.  “Owning a home with a nice backyard has traditionally been central to the Kiwi dream, and the recent rise in house prices and increase in apartments doesn’t seem to have dented that.”

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The data also revealed that city dwellers are more prepared to forgo a backyard than those in smaller centres, with 39% of Aucklanders and 43% of Wellingtonians deeming a backyard essential, compared to 64% in the regional South Island and 57% in the regional North Island. “City dwellers appear more willing to sacrifice a backyard to live in the big smoke and it will be interesting to see if that trend continues as more apartments and townhouses come on to the market,” said Hill.

However, first-time homebuyers are more likely to consider a backyard essential (55%), and place far more importance on this than other features such as a modern kitchen (31%) or bathroom (28%).

“Clearly people looking to get on the property ladder are taking the attitude that you can always improve and expand your home, but you can’t expand your section,” Mr Hill says.

Aside from having a backyard, the survey found that homebuyers prioritise safety and security over luxury features when it comes to choosing a home. An overwhelming 85% said that a warm, dry home is essential, while 70% would choose an area with a low crime rate.

“We encourage Kiwis to make prudent choices about where they live, and it seems that message is being heeded,” said Hill. “In particular it is interesting to see strong awareness of the risks relating to climate change, such as flooding and seal level rise.”

“By prioritising warm, well-built, healthy homes that are immune to future risks, they’re potentially saving themselves a lot of money and worry in the medium-to-long term.”

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