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Commute Time vs. Space: American Preferences Change

Survey: More people (60%, up from 53%) will to drive farther to work and shopping if it comes with a larger house and more distance from their neighbors.

NEW YORK – Americans want more social distance from their neighbors. A new Pew Research Center study finds a shift in home preferences since the pandemic, with more consumers saying they want a larger home even if it means local amenities are farther away.

That marks a shift from 2019 when more Americans desired smaller houses that were “closer to each other, but schools, stores and restaurants are within walking distance,” according to the study.

Six in 10 U.S. adults say they would prefer a community with larger homes that had a greater distance to retail stores and schools, a 7 percentage point increase since 2019. On the other hand, 39% of consumers still prefer a community with smaller houses that are close together yet also near amenities, down 8 points since 2019.

Changing American preferences

  • 60%: Those who want a home that’s larger and farther apart, even if school, stores and restaurants are several miles away, up from 53% in September 2019
  • 39%: Those who prefer homes that are smaller and closer together, providing schools, stores and restaurants are within walking distance, down from 47% in September 2019

 Source: “Americans Now Say They Prefer a Community with Big Houses, Even if Local Amenities are Farther Away,” Pew Research Center (Aug. 26, 2021)

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