The COVID-19 pandemic is a life-changing event that forced everyone to rethink their priorities. Unsurprisingly, the public health crisis also shifted the way people buy homes, too.
Despite the social distancing restrictions set in place, buyers did not delay their plans to become homeowners. The record-breaking decline of interest rates throughout 2020 and during the first quarter of 2021 helped make becoming a homeowner a reality for many Americans.
However, because of the pandemic, what people are looking for from a new home has also changed.
A survey found that 80% of more than 1,000 respondents said that their home-buying budget remained the same or have increased during the pandemic. Moreover, four out of 10 of them shared that they now want and are seeking new features as a response to COVID-19.
Here are some features that buyers are looking for in a new home.
In-House Fitness Facility
Gyms were one of the first businesses to close during the pandemic. The nature of the facility, where people push their bodies to the limit and, therefore, has to breathe more rigorously, releasing droplets and aerosols into the air. In addition, the moist, warm air mixed with the turbulent airflow makes fitness studios a potential infection hot spot.
In fact, last year, South Korean researchers traced back a series of confirmed cases to a nationwide fitness dance class. In total, 112 confirmed cases were linked to fitness dance classes in 12 facilities.
COVID-19 only proved the importance of having a private gym at home. It is a convenient place to exercise, and it would not close down in case of a disease outbreak.
Another home feature present in many luxury homes is the private athletic space. A backyard basketball court provides opportunities for you and members of your family to remain fit despite lockdowns and other restrictions.
All About the Outdoor Living Space
Spending your days indoors as the virus continues to reap through the entire nation has stopped being a novelty or an escape from the office a long time ago. People are now experiencing cabin fever. They want to get out and have a breath of fresh air without breaking the rules.
Outdoor living spaces have always been an attractive feature in a home, but more so now that there is a highly-infectious virus is on the loose. A perfectly-manicured landscape is perfect for those who want to spend more time in nature as an escape from the gloomy news cycle.
A pool is now a must-have, too. Although for years, pools have been said to be unpopular among home buyers, the pandemic changed it all. When summer arrived in 2020, travels were prohibited. People had no means to stay cool in the heat. If they had a pool, they could enjoy the weather despite the lockdown.
The Death of the Open-Floor Plan
The open floor plan was very in-demand for a really long time because it offered more space for moving around and socializing. However, as jobs and schools became remote, walls went back into fashion.
Buyers are now looking for homes with a dedicated office space where they can work without being disturbed or distracted. Therefore, it has to have walls and a door to maintain a clear boundary between professional and personal when working from home.
A closed-floor plan, which offers separation from room-to-room, has become a necessity.
A dedicated room for entertainment was once a luxury. Now, as people find more money in their bank accounts due to lower mortgage rates and stimulus checks, these features are being added to more homes.
In 2020, home theaters saw an increase in demand.
The closure of cinemas nationwide to slow the spread of the virus has led people to stream. When even big blockbuster movies such as Wonder Woman: 1984 and Mulan became available for video-on-demand, people yearned for a home theater setup that recreates the experience they could have from watching at a cinema.
Gaming, too, saw a resurgence in the past year. The industry saw an increase of 35% among new customers. Both hardware and software experience high demands throughout the year as people look for ways to wile the time away during the lockdowns.
The pandemic is making people spend more time within the confines of their own home. Without the opportunities to go outdoors for leisure, many are considering what can be improved in their home and in their lives.
The experience of being stuck inside their homes for an entire year is guiding their decisions as they look for their new home.