2020 will be a year to remember for many reasons, but COVID-19 will always be top of mind. When it comes to real estate, we will most likely see new trends emerging as a result of this pandemic.
Since the “Stay Home” requirement surfaced, professionals had to find creative ways to work from home. Some offices will re-open eventually, but there is also a possibility that some companies will carry on with remote work, especially the ones that have had success with this new forced system.
Properties that previously had dens/flex spaces which have been converted to home offices will become more sought after. There is also a possibility that buyers may be now looking for larger, spacious homes with not just one home office but with two. Homes with large porches and yards will also be more attractive as these have become good meeting places while self-distancing. Kitchens have always been important to buyers, but now due to all the new baking hobbies that have emerged during this pandemic, well designed kitchens with good appliances will be more in demand. As buyers search for larger, better equipped homes, it is possible that the suburbs may become more attractive as the most affordable option, especially since commuting may not be required.
Many young adults have moved back home not just due to financial constraints during COVID-19 but also to take courses for new career paths, as many industries suffer lay-offs. Others moved back in order to have access to a home office. As a result, many potential downsizers may be staying in their homes longer than expected. Seniors may be re-evaluating the downsizing scenario altogether and re-configuring their homes to suit their needs and the needs of their adult children and their families. Multi-generational living has been a trend for some time now, but with COVID-19, there may be more demand for detached homes with multi suites.
Some experts were predicting a “Baby Boom” during the pandemic. But others now are saying there may be a “Breakup Boom” instead. As families juggle with working from home, home-schooling their children, quarantine, self-isolation and financial difficulties, the result of the stress caused by all this may amount to many breakups unfortunately. Co-habiting may be possible for those experiencing this, but it is also possible that the family home may be up for sale and two sets of buyers emerging from this situation. In this regard, since the Stress Test is due to decrease, this will offer more opportunity for buyers to have more purchasing power.
What about the “Pent-up demand” that some real estate economists are talking about? It is possible that the buyers and sellers that withdrew from the market in March due to the fear of COVID-19 will return once they feel comfortable. The question is, when? When they do come back, this pent-up demand will most likely result in a very active market.