Elite Agent

What buyers want – granny flats, sheds, new homes and a study

Sydney buyers want granny flats, Melbournites are looking for new builds, while over in the west, the humble shed is high on people’s wish lists.

According to Domain’s end-of-year wrap, there’s a lot you can tell about what buyers want by studying the keywords they search for on the listing portal.

Perennial favourite ‘pool’ topped the list of most searched keywords in seven of the country’s eight capital cities, with only Hobart buyers preferring a great ‘view’ instead of a place to take a swim.

But Domain Chief of Research and Economics Dr Nicola Powell said it’s in the subsequent rankings where the real trends stood out.

She said there were several differences between the capitals and also regional areas, and she encouraged real estate agents writing listing descriptions to think carefully about the words chosen to describe properties on the market.

“When you’re thinking about the words to use in a listing, it is very crucial to have the right ones,” Dr Powell said.

“And it does differ, and I actually think it’s really quite interesting, because there are nuances across our different capital cities and into regional markets.”


In Australia’s biggest capital city, the terms ‘granny’ and ‘granny flats’ soared up the ranks to #3 and #7 respectively.

“‘Granny flat’ searches have risen through the ranks and placed highest out of all the cities – showing the desire to have a side income in Australia’s most expensive city, more space to work or a rise in intergenerational living,” Dr Powell said.

‘Study’ was the second most popular search term for Sydney, indicating that working from home is here to stay, while ‘courtyards’ became more popular than ‘balconies’ and ‘garden’ still made the top 10, but only just.


Dr Powell said Melbournians wish list didn’t change that much from previous years, with ‘pool’, ‘courtyard’ and ‘study’ holding the top three most searched features for the past two years.

“Apartment living is gaining popularity, with ‘units’ breaking into the top 10 search terms for 2023, as affordability and squeezed borrowing capacities steer decisions amid a tight rental market,” she said.

“Searches for ‘new’ builds are heating up, indicating home buyers are ditching the renovation journey for fear of cost blowouts and instead opt for the turnkey home.”


It appears Brisbane buyers are among the most dollar-conscious, with ‘dual’ the second most searched term while ‘duplex’ came in fifth.

“Budget-conscious buyers seek a duplex, dual occupancy and even dual living,” Dr Powell said.

“It places the missing middle of affordable housing in the spotlight; those priced out of purchasing a house are now looking for an affordable alternative, such as a split block.”

‘Granny flat’ also ranked #8 in Brisbane, while ‘new’ came in sixth.


In Adelaide, one of the biggest trends came in what was missing from the list of Top 10 keywords – ‘study’.

“Prospective buyers do not prioritise a home with a study as highly as other capital cities,” Dr Powell said.

“Relative affordability means the extra space is ready to set up working-from-home, or it’s a trend that’s just not as prevalent as in the bigger cities.”

Instead, buyers prefer new homes, with the keyword ‘new’ ranking #4, while ‘land’ came in #8.


In the nation’s capital city, Dr Powell said ‘groundfloor’, ‘courtyard’ and ‘RZ2’ created a noticeable trend in keyword searches. 

“It places the missing middle of affordable housing in the spotlight; those priceout of purchasing a house are now looking for an affordable alternative,” she said.

Dr Powell also said the city divide across Lake Burley Griffin also remains strong, with ‘south’ trumping ‘north’, which came in at #10 and #11 respectively. 


In the west of the country, buyers in Perth have kept ‘pool’ at the top of their wish list but it’s the keyword that comes in second that’s the most interesting.

“Home buyers are after something a little different in Perth – a ‘shed’ – one of only two capitals to have it rank in the top two keywords,” Dr Powell noted.

“A ‘workshop’ is also prioritised – it’s the only city where it sits in the Top 10 keywords.”

The keywords ‘granny flat’ and ‘new’ also rose up the ranks in Perth.


In the Apple Isle capital a clear trend has emerged that revolves around having an idyllic lifestyle.

“Unsurprisingly, a view is a top priority for buyers in Hobart,” Dr Powell said.

“It is the only city to rank ‘view’ as the #1 keyword in 2023, with others featuring high on the list encompassing anything to do with the ocean, such as ‘waterfront’, ‘water view’ and ‘beach’.

“Home buyers want so much more from their homes – the added lifestyle luxury of a pool takes second spot.

“However it is the only city not to have ‘pool’ at #1.”


Like its cousin Perth, Darwin has ‘shed’ ranked second on the list of buyers’ most wanted features, while ‘granny’ and ‘granny flat’ also make the list in the west.

The keyword ‘garage’ also makes the list, while ‘workshop’ falls just outside the Top 10.

“It’s one of only two cities where it ranks within the Top 20, landing as the 12th most used search term this year for Darwin,” Dr Powell said.

Regional areas

Do country buyers have different priorities to city dwellers? They definitely do, according to their list of most searched keywords.

The term ‘pool’ is still the most searched, but words like ‘view’, ‘waterfront’, ‘beach’, ‘river’ and ‘creek’ all make the Top 10.

Dr Powell said regional buyers had also become more budget-conscious with duplex and dual occupancy also high on the wish list.

Show More

Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.