WINNIPEG -- The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many areas of everyday life, and the housing market is no exception.

With many people working from home, buyers are looking for extra space to get work done.

The Manitoba Real Estate Association commissioned a public survey through Probe Research of 1,000 random Manitobans to see how the pandemic has changed what they look for in a home.

Research shows almost half of Manitoba residents wanted a dedicated space to exercise.

Extra space for a home office is a higher priority now for 44% of Manitobans, and almost one in four Manitobans said having a property with a yard is now a much higher priority.

First-time home buyer, Stephen Sulik said an office space is a big priority for his future home.

“The other thing is a fitness space,” said Sulik. “I’m a competitive power lifter and I need a space for a weight rack, weights, that sort of thing while I can’t go to the gym.”

The survey also shows that 38% of Manitobans said living in a detached home is a higher priority than before the pandemic.

Sulik said people are buying really quickly.

“Some of the places I have looked at they’re snapped up like that. The ones I’ve been kind of interested in, there’s not a lot of time to think.”

A realtor with Royal LePage, Jayesh Guliani said COVID has led to an uptick in buyers because people are staying home and saving money.

“In previous years, lifestyle, concerts, Jets games, travelling, all that fun stuff ate up people’s budget,” said Guliani. “Now people are eating at home, they’ve learned how to cook, they’re not going anywhere, (so) their down payments are sufficient.”

Guliani said there are more buyers in the province right now than sellers, and it’s creating a competitive market.

He said if you’re selling your home now you’ll have a revolving door of buyers to choose from, but even if you do sell your home at a high price, you’ll still have to buy a new home in a competitive market.

President of the Manitoba Real Estate Association, Stewart Elston said there was a shortage of listings through most of 2020, he expects that trend to turn around.

“As we move through into the spring, there will be a lot more listings coming to market. Our preference is for it to be a balanced market; it’s much more sustainable.”

Sulik said he’s not picky about the area his new home is in, he recommends other buyers do the same.

“With more people working from home you don’t have to go into the office, maybe a little more flexible on the area you want to live.”