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From Home Offices to Outdoor Living Rooms: The Most Coveted Home Amenities of the Covid Era

Home-buying preferences are changing big time.

Beverly Hills, Crest Court, California, Real Estate Compass

Amidst the coronavirus crisis, that Miami pied-à-terre may not be as appealing as, say, this mountaintop mansion in Big Sky, Mt.  But beyond extra acreage and perhaps a more rural location to be insulated from virus risk and growing deterioration in some urban areas, what exactly do homebuyers seek?

Homes.com recently surveyed more than 1,000 consumers who have purchased a home during the coronavirus pandemic or plan to purchase a home before 2021. The poll found that an impressive 80 percent of respondents stated that their homebuying budgets had either remained the same or increased since the start of the pandemic, and four out of 10 survey participants now seek different features because of the virus outbreak.

You may have already guessed what some of the most in-demand amenities might be, this survey confirms it. “With the probability of remote working and learning becoming more prevalent in the future, the high demand for open concept designs could be waning,” says McNease, noting that buyers now seek layouts with more spaces designed for specific activities, such as designated office space or a media room for bringing the movie theater experience home.

Of the 40 percent of respondents who have changed the features they hope to find in a home because of the pandemic, 30 percent are looking for a clearly delineated home office, followed by a tie for larger square footage and an enclosed backyard (27 percent), and a closed floor plan rounds out the top three of those polled. As more people spend their downtime at home, the concept of “taking the living room outside” is growing with many house hunters valuing ample backyard space, a pool and gardens.

Barry Sonnenfeld Telluride

The cinema room.  Photo: Courtesy of Aurelia Seigers/Telluride Properties

Interestingly, one-third of those who have purchased homes or plan to soon are ages 18 to 34, a demographic that had presumably been shying away from laying down roots with the fallout from the Great Recession and student loan debt.

While it’s impossible to pinpoint exactly why so many in this bracket indicated their budgets have increased right now, Patty McNease, VP of Marketing for Homes.com attributes it to recently introduced 0 percent interest rates on federal student loan payments and the closure of schools and offices resulting in savings on recreation, childcare, commuting expenses and the like.

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