What Bay Area Homebuyers Wanted in 2020

backyard of house in countryside

It’s an understatement to say that 2020 was an unusual year. Amid the uncertainty we all faced, some people turned to buying new homes to better suit their new worlds. And some homebuyers who were already on a home search shifted what they were looking for. 

Curious to find out what Bay Area homebuyers wanted in 2020 compared to 2019, we turned to our data about the homes for which Flyhomes clients requested tours. We’ve made four conclusions based on that data. 

Shared walls are less desirable 

Bay Area homebuyers in 2020 favored single family homes over condos and, to a lesser extent, townhomes. In 2019, condos represented 25% of requested tours. That number fell to only 13% in 2020. 

The buyers who maintained interest in condos had their pick of a vast selection as condo listings in San Francisco exploded in the summer months of 2020. The number of listings has since normalized to parity with 2019 numbers, but excess condo inventory remains on the market from those condos that didn’t sell during the summer. 

Meanwhile, single-family homes increased in interest from 2019 to 2020, going from 66% to 80% of requested tours. Townhomes went from 7% to 6%. 

Buying in San Francisco became less popular

In San Francisco, urban zip codes accounted for 16% of tour requests in 2019 and only 5.5% in 2020.

This decrease in interest in city homes may be related to companies shifting to remote work models. While many workers are unclear whether they’ll stay home long term, people seem to be choosing where they want to live with less regard to where most businesses are located. The prevalence of condos in the city paired with their downward trend in popularity is likely also a factor. 

People want more bedrooms 

In 2020, homebuyers know that bedrooms can be offices, schools, gyms, and more. The value of an “extra” room with a door you can close is very high. Accordingly, Bay Area buyers looked for more bedrooms. 

Two-bedroom homes became less popular. Requests to tour homes with two-bedrooms dropped from 14% in 2019 to 10% in 2020. 

Three-bedroom homes are the most popular home type, dropped from 51% of tour requests in 2019 to 49% in 2020. 

Four-bedroom homes saw a jump in popularity, going from 29% to 34% of tour requests. 

Five-bedroom homes also saw an increase, from 5% to 7%.Six-bedroom homes saw no change in popularity, staying at 1% of tour requests. 

Bay Area homebuyers prioritized outdoor space

Open-air “rooms” became important extensions of our homes in 2020 and Bay Area homebuyers craved homes in less densely populated areas with more space. The average lot size of homes they wanted to tour increased by 20% from 6,595 square feet in 2019 to 7,919 square feet in 2020.  

Our yards and patios are where we could spend time with friends and family with less risk than meeting indoors, and where we could enjoy time outside of the walls where we were spending so much time. 


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