We are now weeks away from the start of the annual real estate season. By the beginning of March, listings for existing home should begin to increase. Builders will start marketing more aggressively. Buyers hoping to move by the end of summer will start contacting real estate brokers to line up viewings. Thanks to coronavirus though, this year could be a little bit different.
There is no escaping the fact that the coronavirus crisis has impacted nearly everything. It will impact the 2021 real estate market in terms of what people are looking for. Real estate brokers, builders, and sellers would all do well to pay close attention to what the market says. It is going to be an interesting year.
Here are the top four corona-related real estate trends to watch for this season:
1. Work-from-Home Space
Companies forced to send workers home in 2020 have come to realize they might not have to continue maintaining offices. They have discovered their employees are just as capable of working at home. The end result should be more workers staying home permanently. This will impact their needs when it comes time to buy or build.
Expect to see a greater demand for dedicated work-from-home space. Homeowners with no plans to return to the office will eventually tire of working from the kitchen table or a small desk in the corner of the living room. They will want separate space that can be closed off from the rest of the house. That might be a den in some cases, a finished basement in others, or even a separate outbuilding.
2. More Green Space
We saw news stories in the summer of 2020 of residents fleeing congested cities in hopes of finding less congested suburban and rural housing. In short, people afraid of coronavirus no longer want to live in high-rise apartment buildings where people are on top of one another. They want space. And with that space they want green.
Suburban and rural homes should do much better in 2021 compared to their city counterparts. As people are fleeing the cities, they are embracing larger lots with yards for the kids, trees to provide shade from the sun, and views they would never get in an urban environment.
3. Comfort and Practicality
2021 will probably be the year when many homeowners focus less on luxury and more on comfort and practicality. If nothing else, the coronavirus crisis has driven home the reality that personal economics are fragile. So even in areas like Salt Lake City, where CityHome Collective says luxury housing is at a premium, consumers will probably not pursue luxury for its own sake.
It’s a good bet that more buyers will look at practicality first, then comfort. Luxury amenities will still be important to those who can afford them, but not as important as the other two factors.
4. Opportunities to Customize
A big part of making a home comfortable and practical is being able to customize it to your lifestyle. It’s quite likely that builders will offer more customizations in 2021. Among existing home sales, buyers will be looking for homes they can modify without spending a small fortune. It is possible this could lead to a run on fixer-upper properties.
In any event, buyers will be encouraged to add the cost of renovations to their budgets. Customizations cost money, and buyers will have to be very sure about how much they can spend in total.
The 2021 real estate season is just about upon us. It should be slightly different this year, thanks to the many and varied impacts of coronavirus.