In this month’s (January 2021) Flash Survey, members of Virginia REALTORS® told us what home features and neighborhood amenities prospective home buyers are looking for. COVID-19 has changed the home-buying environment in so many ways, and REALTORS® say that, in many cases, the pandemic has changed the types of homes that buyers are looking for. We received responses from 1,004 REALTORS®, including 870 members that had worked with a homebuyer in January.

Highlights from the January 21-24 survey include the following:

  • Dedicated home offices and high-speed internet were the two features most in demand from buyers in January. Nearly 7 in 10 REALTORS® said that compared to last year at this time, homebuyers were more likely to be looking for a home with a home office. About 6 and 10 said that high-speed internet access was more of a priority than it was last year. With more people working remotely and learning virtually as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it makes sense that more buyers would be looking for homes that can better accommodate working from home.
  • Outdoor space was another feature buyers were looking for. More than half of REALTORS® (54%) said that the buyers they are working with now are more likely to be interested in homes with large yards. As COVID-19 has kept families at home, having more outdoor space is a natural desire.
  • According to REALTORS®, condominiums are less attractive to buyers in January than they were a year ago. About 4 out of 10 REALTORS® said that buyers are less likely to be looking for a condo now than they were last year. This reflects the desire during the pandemic for more space and a slight shift from urban locations.
  • Neighborhoods with amenities within walking distance still hold a strong appeal. More than 65% of REALTORS® said that their buyers are still interested in walkable neighborhoods, and 22% said that buyers are more likely now than they were a year ago to want a home in a walkable neighborhood.

A note about surveys: This is not a randomized sample survey of Virginia REALTORS® members. However, the number of responses and the geographic coverage of respondents make it possible to draw conclusions about the population of Virginia REALTORS® working with homebuyers in January 2021, with a certain level of confidence. The statistics from this survey have a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.

Virginia REALTORS® reports on the economy and housing market in Virginia. New information is updated on the Virginia REALTORS® website. A new Flash Survey will be sent out at the end of each month. For more information, please contact Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant, PhD (

Flash Survey Results: How do 2020 preferences compare to those of 2021?