New Home Building Trends Post Covid

By Jeff Chouinard, Director of New Home Sales, Howard Hanna

As I started to compile information about this topic I had many thoughts in my mind given what has transpired over the past few months.  We went from our typical day to day life, both in business and personally, being “normal” meaning getting up and going to work for those not retired, meeting friends for lunch or dinner, visited the gym, attended a movie or sporting event and enjoyed a live concert.

Then the unthinkable happened – COVID-19,  and we ALL were forced to become accustomed to “the new normal” and we became accustomed to staying home, self-isolating, social distancing, no unnecessary travel, work from home mandates, home schooling, no dining out, etc.

We all spent countless hours at home, adapting to the space we occupy for purposes never before thought of and for some of us that challenge may have been more difficult than others due to size, amenities, proximity and on. This has forever changed us. Humans are creatures of habits. This new normal is becoming a new habit, one that has and will affect the way builders build new homes.

 

Builder’s Will Change the Way They Build Homes

Having spent several months within the confines of your home, you’ve likely pondered its pandemic-specific inefficiencies. Is the open-concept floor plan you wanted so badly a few years ago really the best layout for working from home with your partner? Is your lack of proper outdoor living space causing a need for additional patio furniture?

As coronavirus or (COVID-19) continues to incite unprecedented global changes, it’s becoming harder to predict the extent to which it will reshape society. But our homes—the places we’ve been closely pondering these past few months—are poised for plenty of structural and functional changes. As will the desire of acquiring the true American Dream of home ownership.

 

Entryways & Mudrooms will take center stage

New builds will set more distinguishable boundaries between exterior and interior settings.

The design will dictate how we use this space to deposit our outside lives both psychologically and physically to prevent ‘potential contamination’ of our inner sanctums.

Not only will places like mudrooms and entryways become designated spots to set down items to decontaminate, but on a psychological level, they’ll be areas where we leave behind stress before settling into our living spaces.

 

More surfaces will be antimicrobial

Coronavirus has brought cleanliness into focus, leading builders to begin to incorporate more antimicrobial materials in the construction of homes. Expect to see materials like copper and materials that resemble natural stone, used in countertops and bathroom finishes. Also anticipate products like Richlite, a paper-based composite that’s naturally antimicrobial and has low moisture absorption, it can be used in more building facades, wall panels, countertops, and even furniture. It’s an alternative to stone and metal and is highly durable.

 

Outdoor living space will reign supreme

We need to be able to move around in nature, and because of COVID-19, we have learned that our front and backyards are one of the safest places to do so.

From cottages to executive homes, reclaiming more yard space—no matter the size of your property -will become the norm. Gardening will become a more widespread hobby as a result of our most recent stay at home event.

Gardening, even in containers, gives homeowners peace of mind while allowing for them to be able to provide for themselves.

 

Open-concept floor plans will evolve

Open concept floor plans—where walls and doors are eliminated to merge living spaces—have gained popularity in recent years with home buyers. Many appreciate the way the layout opens up a space, making it feel larger and airier. But as people are adjusting to working from home (and schooling from home), they’re finding they need more defined spaces.

In these unprecedented times, people have a new appreciation for flex spaces, an extra room, or even a few extra square feet.

Builders will be tasked with counterbalancing open concept requests with more rooms and doors in the next generation of homes.

We are realizing that we need a place for quiet and work, and a place for games and exercise.

 

Multifunctional Room designs

For example, your new home office may be a place to work, and to also have a private call, meditate, and get in a virtual yoga class.

Popular exercise equipment, like the Peloton bike and the Mirror don’t need much square footage, but builders will soon plan for dedicated fitness areas in the beginning stages of planning, instead of being an afterthought.

 

Master bedrooms will become even larger

Not only will master bedrooms of the future be bigger, they’ll also be designed with built-in desks and lounge areas. As with other parts of the house, bedrooms will be more flexible spaces.

Imagine you have to quarantine yourself for two weeks in your bedroom—there are two main necessities that you will want. First, you want to have your master connected to the bathroom, and second, you need a separate sitting space with a desk that has at least enough space for a laptop.

 

Kitchens will be more important than ever

Kitchens are arguably already the most important room in a house, but with the temporary shutdown of restaurants, home cooks of all skill levels are preparing every meal at home.

Future homeowners will have an even more pronounced interest in kitchens, expect them to not only be spacious enough to cook and hang out in, but they’ll also be equipped with high-quality refrigerators and ovens.

“We are going back to basics.” We’re thinking first of the things that we need that are crucial, not things that we need to impress people with or have to make a statement.

 

Healthier” homes are coming

When the world rebounds from COVID-19, homeowners will be drawn to emerging wellness technologies.

Homes will be able to track air, water, and light quality throughout the day and night. For instance, when kids come home dirty from sports practice, a “smart” house will sense it and adjust its air filtration. Emerging lighting technology will synchronize with residents, too—a feature that could be especially important for those who are spending more time indoors or for hospital workers who work night shifts.

 

Touchless technology will no longer be a luxury

When it comes to finishing touches, smart home features will become far more commonplace, with motion sensors turning on faucets and voice control options for ovens, lights, televisions, and music.

Smart home solutions were once seen as a luxury and may now become the expectation of home buyers who are looking for safer, cleaner spaces.

They’ll create fewer points of contact that need to be sanitized, and in turn, fewer opportunities to worry about contamination.