The stay-at-home lifestyle most of the country has experienced – including makeshift home workspaces and increased kitchen use – will likely influence the type of new home people want to buy months or years from now.
Designers, architects, and builders of new homes need to account for these needs, as the building industry works to determine which trends are likely to be long-lasting.
Here are a few home preferences you can expect to see from future buyers:
Increased living space was the top answer from consumers who were asked what they want in a new home in a recent realtor.com survey, and it’s not difficult to imagine why. Once stay-at-home orders went into effect, people had to find a way to create at-home offices, gyms and study areas for remote learning. That’s not easy if a dwelling is filled to capacity with people, furniture and storage items.
A Zillow survey echoed those findings. About 75% of those surveyed who were working from home wanted to continue doing so at least half the time after the pandemic eases. Overall, nearly one-third wanted a home with a dedicated office space, while 30% wanted to live in a larger home and about the same number wanted more rooms in the home.
Many homeowners are dreaming of the islands. No, probably not the islands in tourism ads, where you take a plane to the tropics and lay on the beach. They want a larger kitchen with an island as a focal point – the kind with a breakfast bar, storage and enough room to enjoy appetizers and homemade family pizza night.
People report they are spending more time cooking and baking and are able to better understand the strengths and limitations of their current kitchen space and appliances. This is why it’s not surprising that 13% of homeowners, according to the realtor.com survey, want an updated kitchen in their next home.
The quality of home entertainment – from barbecues to dips in the pool – is often dependent on a home’s outdoor space. That’s why 13% of people polled by realtor.com wanted more outdoor space in their next home. The outdoor kitchen equipment market is also predicted to grow more than 6% annually through 2024.
An outdoor area could be a simple patio or deck, or an expansive entertainment area that features cutting-edge cooking equipment such as pizza ovens, smokers and various types of grills. Others include islands that fit multiple cooking appliances and prep space.
Separation from neighbors
City dwellers know this well – social distancing isn’t easy when you have to share a lobby, hallway and/or elevator with one or more people every time you step out of your door.
Generally, it’s easier to be separate from your neighbors in a suburban home that has a lawn and possibly a fence and/or shrubbery around the yard. That’s why Zillow has raised the possibility that more homeowners might want to move to suburban areas, which usually offer larger homes at less cost per square foot.
Even inside the home, however, privacy is becoming more of a desire, with buyers wanting a basement or a den where members of the family can have time to themselves, if needed.
Health-conscious home design is expected to be more top of mind among buyers. For example, mudrooms give homeowners a place to hang up coats and remove their shoes before entering the house while antimicrobial or touch-free fixtures help keep a sanitary kitchen environment.
It’s not easy to know which home buying trends will stick in the second half of 2020 and beyond, but it’s safe to say some changes – such as increased work from home arrangements – will help shape home preferences and design for years to come.