There is no denying that the pandemic has changed our world forever. The impact that we have felt over the past twelve months is sure to reverberate for years and decades to come, changing the ways that we live day to day. Our experience has forever altered both the way we work, as well as the way we play. It has touched nearly every aspect of our lives, including some ways that we may have not expected, even the way that we view our homes. As it turns out, spending months on end inside our homes has gotten us thinking about what we want, don’t want, what we REALLY don’t want, and what we NEED in a home. What does the NEW perfect home look like, in 2021?
Into the Burbs
One of the biggest changes to our collective “dream” home has been where it is located. People are moving out of more populous, metropolitan areas, and making the trek to the suburbs. While this trend was emerging a few years before the pandemic began, it really took hold and gained serious momentum through 2020.
Some of the best parts of living in the city, the bars, restaurants, nightlife, may have lost some of their appeal (with a new heightened sense of personal space and hygienic awareness) and, after being without them for a matter of months, many are finding that they are less drawn to them than they had been in pre-pandemic times.
Additionally, in years past, potential home buyers were likely to purchase a home within close proximity to their workplace, leading them to purchase spaces in more urban areas. However, with more and more employers continuing to allow, even encourage, employees to work from home, some indefinitely, close proximity to work is no longer high on the list of priorities for many in the home buying market. This shift has expanded the ideal area for many, leading them further and further away from big cities, and seeking homes in suburban areas that offer a little more separation from neighbors, and a bit more elbow room.
Space, the Final Frontier
What is the one thing that nearly all homebuyers are seeking post-pandemic? Space. This means moving away from compact and crowded living spaces and seeking locations that boast more square footage. After spending so much at home, many began to feel a bit cramped in their smaller spaces, particularly if they found themselves sharing that space with a significant other and or a kid or two. This feeling of the walls closing in has spurred many to seek out homes that offer a larger footprint, allowing all who reside within to occupy their own personal space, even when everyone is home together.
Not surprisingly, after the events of last year, homeowners are more focused on having space inside their homes that can be utilized for things that they would have previously done outside of their homes. It goes without saying that the home office has soared in popularity among homebuyers as of late. This comes as no surprise, as more and more people find themselves saying, “sayonara” to the hustle and bustle of office culture, and working remotely from their homes. And while a dedicated room is ideal, today’s homebuyers are amenable to accepting a slight downgrade. Multipurpose spaces, such as lofts are nearly as desirable and, in reality, any little place that can be carved out and made into a workspace (that is not the kitchen table) is in high demand.
In addition to working from home, when gyms and recreation centers were closed early last year, many found themselves working out from home as well. Because of this, the desire for space within a home to create a home gym has risen among those with a little bit of extra cash to spend. Spaces like garages and basements have become much more important to homebuyers for this reason. Let’s face it, making pained faces and sweating profusely in the comfort of your own home, rather than in front of strangers and lukewarm acquaintances, does have its appeal. And while you may miss the motivation of the toned spin instructor yelling at you in a dimly-lit room, you do have the freedom to customize your workout space to your specific wants and needs. It is also always open when you finally get that desire to work out (after bringing on TV and potato chips), and requires no travel time, so you can't change your mind on the way there and stop for donuts instead.
The Great Outdoors
With the extensive amount of time we spent inside last year, it seems inevitable that the desire for accessible spaces outdoors would be high on the list of dream home attributes.
Post-pandemic homebuyers find themselves drawn to properties that boast outdoor spaces that are both beautiful and functional. Porches, patios, decks and yards are all features that have seen a quick rise to the top of wishlists in recent months. Not only do these spaces provide us with much needed respite from the walls of our homes, they also serve as more usable space for family members to spread out. They also provide a socially-distant, safe way to connect with family, friends and neighbors, something that we all can admit to craving at some point throughout the past year.
In addition to wanting to obtain an outdoor space that is all their own, many are deciding to leave their former urban lifestyle to find residence closer to the greater outdoors. Proximity to amenities such as hiking trails, bike paths and even state parks have grown in importance to many with a mind to relocate. It would seem that the refuge many found in the outdoors last year, when all other forms of entertainment had closed, has not faded as those doors begin to, once again, open.