Homeowners will still have room to quarantine and take Zoom calls even after the worst of the pandemic is over. 3 real estate experts explain the trends they see.

  • There has been an increase in demand for “wellness design”, which is about a homeowner’s well-being.
  • Quarantine spaces, flex spaces and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are hot trends right now.

When Tanya Trevett, a mental health advocate, retired teacher and author from Massachusetts, started her house hunt in 2020, she had a very specific need: a space to quarantine.

asked Trevett.Emily OBrien photo

“My daughter and I have autoimmune issues and she is on a medication that causes her to have low immune function. I wanted an area if one of us got COVID-19 so we could quarantine ourselves away from the others,” she told Insider.

Trevett and her three daughters eventually settled on a roughly 2,600-square-foot split-level home in the Boston suburbs. The lower level matched exactly the kind of space Trevett was looking to build out.

“It’s kind of cool because you can be down in the lower level and have a separate entrance, so it’s perfect for quarantine. If someone gets sick, they can go out that back door without coming up to the main living space or to the other. bedrooms. I love it,” Trevett said.

Trevett isn’t the first person to consider redesigning their home in the wake of a pandemic: The 1918 flu outbreak was the catalyst for features like powder rooms, built-in closets and bathroom subway tiles, as well as upgraded radiators. Similarly, the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred what experts call a rise in “wellness design” — or home elements focused on a resident’s mental and physical health and well-being.

Homeowners will still have room to quarantine and take Zoom calls even after the worst of the pandemic is over.  3 real estate experts explain the trends they see.
Rose Quint.Courtesy of Rose Quint

Much of wellness design comes down to space. According to Rose Quint, assistant vice president of survey research at the National Association of Home Builders, more space is one of the biggest demands home buyers have right now. Additional data from NAHB shows that demand for things like flexible living spaces, dedicated office or zoom spaces, outdoor spaces, laundry rooms and home technology has increased during the pandemic.

“Flexible spaces and open floor plans are what buyers continue to be interested in. Ultimately, they want to be the final decision maker in how these spaces are used, rather than leaving it up to the developer,” Quint told Insider.

Homeowners will still have room to quarantine and take Zoom calls even after the worst of the pandemic is over.  3 real estate experts explain the trends they see.
Alaina Money-Garman.Courtesy of Garman Homes

In late 2020, architect Nancy Keenan, home builder Alaina Money-Garman, marketing expert Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki and construction strategist Belinda Sward released an “America at Home Study” that surveyed more than 6,000 consumers during the first and second waves of COVID-19 .

The survey found that buyers wanted, among other things, larger entryways and better mudrooms that are easily closed off from the rest of the home, more bathrooms near the home’s entry points to allow visitors to wash hands, flexible spaces that can be transformed into places to do homework, take a Zoom call or work out, and guest suites or quarantine rooms that have direct access from the outside, their own bathrooms and can be safely isolated from the rest of the house.

Homeowners will still have room to quarantine and take Zoom calls even after the worst of the pandemic is over.  3 real estate experts explain the trends they see.
Aaron Enfinger.Courtesy of Aaron Enfinger

Aaron Enfinger, CEO of The Cleary Company, a remodeler in Columbus, Ohio, told Insider he’s seen an increase in demand for outdoor living spaces. “A lot of people want to increase the area of ​​their home by getting more ‘living space’ without actually having to do a big addition or anything like that.” said Onefinger. “We’ve done a number of basement conversions in the past year, which again help give people the level of privacy they need and a place to go to have a retreat.”

As housing costs and interest rates rise, housing has become more unaffordable than ever. The latest data from the National Association of Realtors shows that the median single-family home price for the second quarter of 2022 rose 14.2% year over year to $413,500, rising above $400,000 for the first time. As a result, according to 2022 data from the NAHB, one of the main remodeling projects expected to boom this year is accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, which are smaller, independent living units located on the same lot as a single-family detached home. the family home.

Adding more living space separate from the main home has also become more important for families considering the needs of aging parents and baby boomers. Over the past few years, places like California, Texas, and Seattle have all begun relaxing ADU rules and regulations in an effort to make housing more affordable.

Money-Garman, one of the authors of the “America at Home Study” and CEO of North Carolina homebuilder Garman Homes, said that at the local level, Garman Homes has seen an increase in demand for new homes with ADUs, or rooms with a separate entrance, especially above the garage.

“Our buyers are increasingly asking for a fully functional guest suite with a separate staircase above the garage. So if you had a boomerang kid or an older college kid, that space is more inclusive for that,” she said.

As the pandemic continues its course, many of the changes we’ve made to our homes to make them more comfortable and accommodating for distance learning, remote work, and extended family units are likely here to stay.

“Having a dedicated quarantine space gives me a sense of relief,” Trevett said. “When you’re a mom, you just feel like you’re taking care of everybody and you want your kids and your family to be safe. It makes me feel relieved and really happy because it’s a different place, where the children can go.”

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