Can you blame them?

By Lauren Phillips
Updated August 22, 2019
Air conditioning over family - what people prefer in a new home
Credit: Getty Images

Shopping for a new place to live—whether as a renter or a buyer with a full house-buying checklist—is a series of compromises. One place has a two-car garage, but it’s farther from school and work; another has ugly carpets but a great yard. Savvy home shoppers will have their priorities in order so they can easily sift through these compromises to find the best possible place.

There is a near impossible compromise, though, that just gets more and more difficult depending on where you live: air conditioning vs. family and friends, as in, this place has air conditioning—but it’s far from family and friends. According to a new analysis, the majority of people would pick air conditioning over family and friends, which is neither right nor wrong, but it’s certainly a sign of where priorities lie.

The analysis finds that people want air conditioning more than they want to be near family and friends—76 percent of home buyers and 66 percent of renters say air conditioning is very or extremely important, while only 47 and 36 percent, respectively, say the same of living near family or friends, as reported in the Zillow Group 2018 Consumer Housing Trends Report. And people in hotter regions are only more adamant about having a place with air conditioning: 97 percent of home buyers in Phoenix, Ariz., and 88 percent in the hot and sometimes-swampy South call air conditioning important, versus the 32 and 44 percent of people who say living near family or friends is important.

If you’re constantly brainstorming ways to beat the heat or looking for things to do on a hot day, picking a place to live with air conditioning instead of one close to loved ones might actually be the smarter move. (You can always call or hop in your also-air-conditioned car to go see them.)