Study: Realtors Confirm Gas Prices Are Changing U.S. Housing Demand

May 20, 2011

The word is already out that Americans would probably be healthier (and probably a lot happier) if we had shorter daily commutes.

Now it seems that the cost pressure of rising gas prices could be forcing us to do just that—rethink where we're living. If a new survey of real-estate professionals is any indication, American home shoppers are thinking more than ever about shorter driving distances and being closer to shops and services.

Back when gas prices surged in 2008, Americans were cutting back on spending and vacations but few families were doing anything so drastic as moving because of them.

Gas prices an influence for 75 percent of house shoppers?

Now, three-quarters of real estate professionals polled said that the recent surge in gas prices has influenced clients' choices on where to live, while 93 percent of real-estate pros said that if gas prices continue to rise, they might consider housing changes that would shorten the commute.

Altogether, 77 percent of realtors said that more clients were interested in having a home office than five years ago, and 68 percent believed that the cost of gas has something to do with that. Forty-five percent report buyers who choose houses closer to shops and services because of gas prices.

The survey was conducted online by Coldwell Banker Real Estate, of its 1,188 agents and professionals in the U.S., between April 28 and May 3, 2011.

But admittedly, there's some conflicting information; a new Nielsen Wire survey released today shows almost exactly the opposite: that 2011 is not 2008, and that consumers aren't taking the sorts of drastic measures they were last time gas prices spiked well past $4 a gallon in some regions of the country.

A new spending reality—about where we live, too?

According to Nielsen, "consumers have adjusted to a new spending reality," and measures taken to reduce spending are roughly in line with those taken last summer when gas prices were about $3 a gallon, not in 2008 when they hit those record levels.

In the latest Nielsen poll, though, 36 percent said higher gas prices would drive them to shop closer to home, and two thirds said that they'd combine errands or trips.

40-car Garage For Sale-House Included

40-car Garage For Sale-House Included

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The Coldwell Banker study found that of the 56 percent of professionals who said that more home buyers are interested in urban situations, 93 percent said that shorter commutes play a role and 81 percent thought that the desire to cut gasoline spending was a factor.

Tell us what you think. Are you considering moving, and do gas prices have something to do with it? Or did gas prices have a role in your last move?

[Nielsen Wire; Coldwell Banker via Consumerist]

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