After weeks of sheltering in place, some homebuyers are rethinking what they want most in their next home. In a recent survey from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), 13% “reported buyers have changed at least one home feature that’s important to them due to COVID-19.” Here are six to watch.
1. Suburbs over cities
“Location, location, location” is taking on new meaning during the pandemic. Five percent of those surveyed said their customers are starting to prefer suburban properties to urban. A Harris Poll uncovered a similar result, with 40% of city dwellers polled saying they were “very” or “somewhat likely” to move further out when the pandemic ends. Twenty-five percent of suburbanites surveyed agreed.
This trend has played out to a degree in some hubs. Wealthy New Yorkers made news for relocating outside of the city in response to COVID-19.
2. Room for families
The NAR survey also showed homebuyers are looking for “space to accommodate family.” It was one of three common preferences among buyers who had prioritized a home feature due to COVID-19. With homes doubling as schools, home offices, daycares and gyms, these buyers may be looking for room to balance every family member’s needs.
3. Yards with room to grow food
Yards were a second common feature important to buyers with changing preferences. These house hunters are reportedly looking for space to grow food—a preference that may have been fueled by concerns over food shortages during the pandemic.
4. Home offices
Home offices were a the third common feature. It’s no secret that the pandemic has led to a surge in working from home, and some homebuyers may be doing it permanently.
5. Home gyms
The National Association of Homebuilders is watching buyer interest in home gyms during the pandemic. Exercise facilities around the country are reopening but aren’t expected to be as full as they were before. A May Morning Consult study found that nearly 30% of those surveyed wouldn’t feel comfortable going to the gym for more than half a year.
6. Chef-friendly kitchens
Kitchens are no strangers to buyers’ must-have lists, but they may be an even bigger ingredient in pandemic home sales. A second Morning Consult survey found that 56% of respondents were cooking more during the pandemic, and 36% were expecting to cook more after the pandemic.
Time will tell if these trends will hold as developments around the pandemic continue to unfold.