BAM Key Details:

  • New Zillow research shows Gen Z (ages 18-26) are more likely to prioritize pets over partners or kids (real or future) when buying a home. 
  • Gen Z pet owners are more likely to prioritize fenced backyards than double sinks, kids’ playrooms, or a home office for their partner. 

A new Zillow survey tells us something about Gen Z that their partners probably already know (and are surprisingly cool with). 

Turns out, prospective buyers of this generation are more likely to prioritize pets over partners or children when buying a home. More Gen Z home shoppers, for example, consider a fenced yard for their fur baby as essential, compared to those that prioritize double sinks in the primary bathroom, a kids’ playroom, or a home office for their partner. 

Even more surprising (maybe) is that one in eight Gen Z pet owners living with a spouse or partner (13%) would rather share a bedroom with their pet than with their partner/spouse.

[For one possible reason, pets typically don’t snore—or not as loudly as humans.]

At this point, you’re either shrugging and saying, “Sounds accurate” or you’re wide-eyed and thinking, “That can’t be right.” 

Keep reading. 

Pets over partners (and kids)

Americans love their pets. And since the pandemic, even more people in this country have become pet owners. According to Zillow’s Consumer Housing Trends Report, almost three-quarters of home buyers have one pet or more at home (73%), compared to 64% in 2020. 

Some of them, particularly the younger ones, are more likely to prioritize their pets’ needs over those of their partners and kids when searching for a home. 

Zillow’s survey, conducted online by The Harris Poll, shows 22% of Gen Z pet parents would want to move if their current home was no longer working for their fur baby, while only 12% would feel the same inclination if their home wasn’t working for their partner. 

Three in five (60%) Gen Z buyers consider certain pet-friendly home features essential. Nearly half (58%) put a fenced backyard on that list. 

Compared to that, less than one-third of Gen Z adults (28%) feel the same about having a double sink in the primary bathroom, and 35% consider a home office for their partner/spouse an essential feature (to say nothing of man caves and she sheds).

Even fewer Gen Z buyers consider it a deal-breaker if a home lacks certain kid-friendly features—like a playroom (24%) or an outdoor play set (11%). 

When shopping for homes, if Gen Z buyers have a choice, 55% say it’s more important for a home to be pet-friendly, compared to 45% who prioritize kid-friendly features. 

Young adults may be delaying parenthood, but they’re not putting off pet parenthood. One recent study finds most Gen Z adults would rather have a pet than a child. As this younger generation ages into their home-buying years, it follows that their pets will have a greater influence on their moving decisions, perhaps more so than their significant other.

Amanda Pendleton

Zillow's home trends expert

Pets impact home preferences

We know from previous Zillow research that pet owners across generations are more likely to purchase larger homes with more bedrooms. They’re also more likely (73%) than buyers without pets (65%) to say private outdoor space is very or extremely important. 

Even in small-space markets like New York City, Zillow brand StreetEasy finds more buyers are looking for homes that allow pets than for homes with dishwashers. 

With the inventory shortage, home seekers with pets need to act quickly to get a well-priced home with pet-friendly features. That creates an opportunity for sellers whose homes already have one or more of those features already in place. 

Pet owners shopping on Zillow can enter an address into Zillow’s “Moving with Pets” page to see what pet-friendly amenities—like veterinary clinics, pet supply stores, dog parks, and groomers—are located in a particular neighborhood. 

Top takeaways for real estate agents

Make sure your sellers with pets highlight the pet-friendly features in the home they’re selling. Pet owners looking for a home are more likely to offer more for one that already has these features in place. 

And help your buyers with pets by finding the best options for them. Use this research as a guide when asking questions about their pet-related preferences. And when showing a home, don’t forget to point out pet-friendly features–-like a mudroom with ample space for a litter box, a large cat-friendly windowsill, or a “dog cabin” in the fenced back yard. 

Your pet-loving clients will appreciate it.