Metro Denver pet owners want fenced backyards and more when home shopping

As the number of households with children declines and pet ownership increases, more potential homebuyers seek pet-friendly homes and neighborhoods.

According to Jessica Lautz, deputy chief economist and vice president of research at the National Association of Realtors, households with children under 18 decreased from 48 percent in 2002 to 40 percent in 2022. Meanwhile, families with pets increased from 56 percent in 1988 to 70 percent by 2022.

Not only do more potential homebuyers have pets, but they also make purchasing decisions with their dogs and cats in mind.

In a survey conducted by and HarrisX among 3,001 U.S. adults, 82% of Americans with pets 91% say their animals will factor in their purchase decision.

Pet owners want:

  • Fenced yards with shade
  • Nearby amenities include dog parks, vets, and groomers
  • Pet-friendly neighborhoods
  • Homes that include doggy doors, sunrooms, mudrooms, large windows, and main-floor bedrooms so older pets can avoid stairs.

Kendra Buck with West+Main said backyards are critical for dog owners.

“They also want good fences. In some newer neighborhoods, the homes come with a low four-foot split rail fence that’s problematic with a big dog.”

Ronaldo Mojica with 8z said he sees dog owners gravitating to walkable neighborhoods with other pet owners.

“Many of them do like to know there are other dogs in the neighborhood. That shows how dog-friendly its is,” Mojica said. “I don’t hear it from every pet owner, but some do like to know whether can will have opportunities to socialize their dogs.”

A Zillow survey by The Harris Poll showed that 60% of Gen Z adults value pet-friendly features when considering buying a home. According to the research, 48% prioritize a fenced backyard over other features, such as a double sink in the primary bathroom (28%) or a home office (35%).

If they must decide between a pet-friendly and kid-friendly home, most Gen Z pet owners (55%) will choose the former (45%).

Gen Z pet owners even prioritize their pets over their partners. According to Zillow’s research, 22% of these pet owners would prefer to move out if their current home no longer meets their pet’s needs, compared to only 12% who would do the same for their partner’s needs.

“For a lot of these buyers, their lives revolve around their dogs,” Buck said. “They want to know about dog parks, walking trails and any breed restrictions set by the HOA.”

Increasingly, Denver-area realtors see potential homebuyers searching for places that accommodate aging dogs.

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“For some buyers with older dogs, a ranch is the only thing they will consider. Or if there are stairs, they want them carpeted since it provides grip and padding that helps the dogs,” Mojica said.

Buck agreed that ranches are popular with potential owners with older dogs.

“They look for space on the main level so the dogs can hang out and a bedroom on the main floor, especially if the dog is too big to carry up and down stairs. Nobody’s doing stair chairs for dogs yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see that someday.”

The news and editorial staffs of The Denver Post had no role in this post’s preparation.

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