The high cost of gasoline is not just emptying wallets, it is also impacting where consumers choose to buy a home.  According to a new Coldwell Banker survey of its network of real estate professionals, 75 percent said that the recent spike in gas prices has influenced their clients’ decisions on where to live and 93 percent said if gas prices continue to rise, more homebuyers will choose to live somewhere that allows for a closer commute to their work.

Out of those who said gas prices affect where consumers want to live, being closer to work was the leading consideration.  Drive time and racking up miles en-route to the office caused 89 percent to say buyers look for homes closer to work.  Forty-five percent are seeing buyers choose homes closer to shops and services as a result of increasing gas prices.

Some buyers are skipping the commute altogether.  More than three quarters of the real estate professionals surveyed (77 percent) said more buyers today are interested in having a home office compared to five years ago, and 68 percent of those respondents said that they believe the high cost of gas contributes to this new work-from-home trend.  Currently, there are more than 25,000 homes available on coldwellbanker.com that include “office” as part of the listing description.

“The decision to buy a home has always been tailored around the personal, multi-faceted lifestyle needs of each buyer,” said Chris Mygatt, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.  “Today, rising fuel costs and a person’s decision to commute, or perhaps work remotely, are additional factors of the decision home buyers must consider.”

One trend continuing to rise in popularity, partly because of the gas price phenomenon, is the interest in urban living. Fifty-six percent of the real estate professionals surveyed said that they are seeing more homebuyers interested in urban living compared to five years ago. Of the subset that recognized this trend, 93 percent strongly agreed or agreed that one reason is an increased interest in shorter commutes. Eighty-one percent of these respondents also strongly agreed or agreed that the desire to reduce spending on gas is a factor.

According to those who have seen an increased interest in urban living, other reasons behind this trend are:

  • Having everything at your fingertips (91 percent strongly agreed or agreed)
  • Being able to walk to places (76 percent strongly agreed or agreed)
  • Being near public transportation (52 percent strongly agreed or agreed)

Methodology: Coldwell Banker Real Estate conducted an online survey among 1,188 Coldwell Banker real estate professionals across the United States about the impact of gas prices on home buying decisions and trends surrounding urban living. Some answer percentages in the above may not total 100 percent, if only the most popular responses are listed.  In other cases, respondents had the option to check all that apply, which may mean that percentages total more than 100 percent.

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