Overheated housing market forces concessions

08 June 2018

9 out of 10 house hunters adjust housing preferences for ideal location

Home seekers prefer to settle for a smaller or less beautiful house in order to live in a location that is ideal for them, rather than being willing to move elsewhere. That location is very important in the search for a home; home seekers find the state of the neighborhood the most important factor in choosing a home, followed by the presence of amenities such as stores and travel time to work.

Nearly 90 percent of home seekers are willing to accept a smaller or less beautiful home in order to still be able to live in a location that is ideal for them. This is evident from research by buying and renting platform Pararius among more than 1,400 house hunters. In order to live in an ideal location, more than half of those surveyed are prepared to give up extra living space or outdoor area.

Age determines environment requirements
When it comes to what is the most important factor in the search for a home in a suitable location, the state of the neighborhood, amenities and travel time to work lead the top three. State of the neighborhood refers to whether the neighborhood is safe, clean and well cared for. The degree of importance is related to age: the older house hunters are, the more important the state of the neighborhood becomes. Young people under 25 years of age consider travel time to work and the presence of facilities to be decisive in their choice. However, they attach less value to the neighborhood, while people in age categories between 35 and 65 put the state of the neighborhood first. Travel time to work comes in third place for them.

Travel time to work no more than one hour
Home seekers are also clear about the maximum time they are willing to spend traveling to and from work. Over 90 percent of respondents indicate that they are not willing to travel longer than one hour. The higher educated are willing to travel longer than the lower educated. A journey of 45 minutes is still acceptable for higher educated people, while lower educated people prefer not to take longer than 37 minutes for this.[1]

This is more than what the average Dutch person can do. This is more than the average Dutch person actually travels: research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that Dutch people spend an average of 30 minutes commuting to work[2]. The Dutch are willing to spend a relatively large amount of their time commuting. According to the CBS, employees bridge an average of 22.6 kilometers to get to work[3]. Over sixty percent live and work in different municipalities.

Living smaller as an alternative
People are mainly willing to make concessions on living space; more than half of the respondents are prepared to make concessions on this to be able to live in the location they have in mind. Many house hunters would also give up a garden (47%) or a nice bathroom (39%). An extra room is worth a lot to all house hunters: only a quarter of them would also rent or buy a house with fewer rooms.

Striking is the difference between what young and old find important. For example, 73 percent of those under the age of 20 care little about a garden and only 18 percent of them are willing to pay more for a rental or purchase property. Those over 65 are less willing to make concessions; 16 percent are not willing to give up anything about the home and only a little over a quarter are willing to give up a garden. However, they are more willing to bear higher monthly costs (44%). Cohabitants (both with and without children) are also not quick to give up a garden or living space, but 46% of cohabitants with children are willing to pay more for a good location.

The influence of the overheated housing market
According to Jasper de Groot, director of Pararius, the overheating of the housing market is currently playing a major role in the choices of home seekers. “Especially in the big cities the demand exceeds the supply by far. Home seekers there often fish behind the net. For most, it is necessary to adjust their requirements in order to have a chance of finding a home,” says De Groot. “They do this in the first place by making concessions on housing features, such as size or outdoor space. If that also proves insufficient to find a home, then they are forced to broaden their horizons and look for other places.”

Figures from the survey confirm this picture: a large proportion of home seekers are willing to move to another location if competition on the market means they cannot find a home. Over 70 percent are neutral to positive about moving to another neighborhood if they are unable to find a home, even with adjusted housing requirements. Some 40 percent would consider eventually moving to another city if they were unable to find a home at the desired location. Young people up to 25 years of age in particular are more flexible in this respect.

More insight into motives of house hunters
“By mapping the housing preferences and relocation motives of various target groups, we know where the bottlenecks are. Real estate agents and project developers, for example, can capitalize on this and thus relieve the pressure on the housing market. This information is also important for Pararius itself. We get to know our target group better and are thus better able to assist house hunters in their search”, says de Groot.

Smart Map: a new way of searching with alternative options
One of the ways in which Pararius helps house hunters and home buyers is by offering a new way of searching. To this end, the housing platform was the first to launch the Pararius Smart Map a short time ago. De Groot: “With this map function, house hunters can see at a glance where facilities (such as public transport points, schools and supermarkets) are in the vicinity. In addition, the Smart Map gives house hunters the opportunity to discover homes based on the maximum desired travel time to places important to them, such as work or the children’s school. Home seekers thus gain more insight and discover other homes or locations they might not have thought of themselves.”

[1] Low-educated: none, primary or elementary education, vmbo/mavo/lbo, mbo, don’t know/won’t say. Higher educated: havo/vwo (hbs, mms), hbo/wo (hts, heao)
[2], ‘Traffic jams and distance will get used to if you live far from work’
[3] CBS, ‘Almost 4 in 10 work and live in the same municipality’



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