Pet Ownership Soars among Home Buyers, Influencing Purchase Decisions

Nearly three-quarters of home buyers in 2021 report having at least one pet, up nine percentage points from 2020

Zillow

New Zillow datai finds pandemic pet ownership is soaring among home buyers, impacting the types of homes they are likely to buy. Zillow’s 2021 Consumer Housing Trends Report finds nearly three-quarters of home buyers report having at least one pet at home (73%), a big jump from the 64% of buyers who reported having a pet in 2020.

Pet owners are more likely to buy larger homes with more bedrooms. Buyers with at least one pet are more likely than those without pets to buy a home larger than 3,000 square feet (17% versus 10%). About one-third of buyers with a pet (36%) purchased a home with four bedrooms or more, compared to one-quarter of buyers without pets (24%).

Zillow’s research also indicates that buyers with pets are more likely to consider private outdoor space very or extremely important (73%) compared to buyers without pets (65%). Conversely, buyers without pets are nearly twice as likely to purchase a condo or buy into a housing co-op (14%) than buyers with pets (8%).

“Pets are widely considered part of the American family, so it follows that they can factor into moving decisions,” says Manny Garcia, a population scientist at Zillow. “This research shows an increase in pet ownership among recent movers and suggests that pets can impact housing preferences. In some cases, they may even be the catalyst for a move, along with other factors, such as remote work and shifting family priorities.”

Pandemic movers on the whole have been moving into larger, more affordable homes. Pet-owning buyers skew slightly younger than a typical home buyer without any pets — 41 years old versus 47 years old. They’re also more likely to have children in the home, which may help explain why they’re more apt to purchase larger homes with more bedrooms.

Previous research done by Zillow and Rover specifically on dog owners found the majority of those surveyed (62%) say they would consider moving to a new home to better accommodate their pup. A Zillow report on 2020 home sales found certain pet-friendly features can contribute to a higher sale price or a faster-than-expected sale. Homes that advertise a doghouse in their listing description can sell for 3% more than expected, while homes advertising a fenced backyard or a dog run can sell up to five days faster.

Significant increases in pet ownership were also seen among renters in 2021, but at a lower rate than home buyers. More renters now report owning at least one pet (57%) compared to 2020 (51%). Pet ownership has decreased among homeowners surveyed; 61% of homeowners reported having at least one pet in 2021, down from 67% in 2020.

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