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NAR Study: Millennials Drive the Desire for Bigger Homes

How did COVID-19 impact the real estate market? NAR did dual studies to find out, and Americans most affected by the pandemic mitigation safety rules – younger adults, especially those with children – have the strongest desire for bigger yards and more living space.

WASHINGTON – A study from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) confirms many of the predicted migration trends caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

NAR usually conducts community surveys every two years, but with a radical industry change sparked by the pandemic, it did a pair of studies this year to gauge any changes. In the latest study, the 2020 Community and Transportation Preference Survey, younger Americans – particularly those with children – have been most affected by pandemic-inspired change, though people who live in walkable communities register a higher quality of life than those who live in less walkable areas.

“NAR has conducted community preference surveys for over 20 years, providing Realtors and their communities with decades of information regarding changing American lifestyles and migration trends,” says NAR President Vince Malta. “In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, this data has become even more consequential, helping local communities and Realtor associations implement various smart growth changes to account for these shifts.”

According to the study, Americans under 40 (millennials and Generation Y) are most likely to say their overall quality of life has been negatively impacted by the pandemic, and they also note a reduced need to reside near highways, public transit or their place of work.

“Although COVID has dramatically changed people’s lives, this study shows that a substantial demand for walkability persists for Americans of all ages,” Malta adds.

Noteworthy findings of the July survey:

  • Respondents who strongly agree that there are “lots of places to walk nearby” show an 8% increase in quality of life.
  • Families with children in school show an increased desire for detached homes and larger yards.
  • In February, a majority of Americans preferred a smaller yard in a walkable community.
  • The importance of easy access to public transit and highways dropped 8% and 5%, respectively, from pre-pandemic levels.
  • Americans older than 55 and those with higher incomes show an increased interest in walkability.

The first 2020 survey was conducted in February, immediately before the impacts of COVID-19 began to be felt, and again at the end of July. NAR’s biannual Community & Transportation Preferences Survey polls residents in America’s 50 largest metropolitan areas.

© 2020 Florida Realtors®