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Pandemic Boosted Importance of Neighbors and Community

The pandemic lockdown boosted the value of good neighbors and communities. Buyers today want a great house, but they also want it located in a great neighborhood.

NEW YORK – Buyers increasingly look for a neighborly community: 51% of buyers between the ages of 18 and 43 and about one-third of buyers between the ages of 57 to 75 say that community became more important to them over the past year.

House hunters prefer neighbors who share similar interests and are active in the community, according to Bank of America’s newly released 2021 Homebuyer Insights Report. It’s based on a survey of 2,000 adults who currently own a home or plan to in the future.

“Over the last year, people have had plenty of time at home to reassess their priorities and goals, including how their living space and surroundings fit into their lives,” says AJ Barkley, senior vice president of Neighborhood Lending and Retail Sales East Executive, Consumer Lending at Bank of America. “We know homeownership remains as important as ever, especially for younger generations looking for that sense of community.”

Homeowners were more likely than non-homeowners to say they like their neighbors – 42% versus 29%. They were also more likely to say positive things about their neighborhood – 44% versus 32%. The feeling of safety is also important to homebuyers.

Besides the importance of community, home shoppers have tweaked their wish lists after spending more time at home over the past year. Nearly half (48%) of prospective homebuyers between the ages of 18 to 43 say the importance of square footage has increased for them, and 60% put more weight on the outdoor space.

More activities are heading into the home, and that has made potential buyers – particularly younger buyers – assess homes in new ways. For example, survey respondents between the ages of 18 to 43 say their home is now used as:

  • an office (45%)
  • a school (31%)
  • a movie theater (28%)
  • a gym (27%)

Younger prospective buyers also expressed a greater desire for new technology in their homes, such:

  • smart or Wi-Fi-enabled security systems (51%)
  • solar energy products (42%)
  • smart or Wi-Fi-enabled appliances (44%)

Source: Bank of America

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