When the dust finally settles on this horrible pandemic, I predict people will be looking for a much different type of home.
Boomers will want to downsize, get out more and enjoy more social activities. Like the boomers, millennials will want less maintenance and be able to spend the time doing athletic and social activities. They too will be thinking about living smaller. With millennials getting married later and having fewer children they are not seeking those sprawling homes that their parents sought.
Whether it’s called downsizing or rightsizing, the trend toward living in a small home is here to stay. And the current pandemic has added other requirements homeowners will want.
The pandemic has added an unpredictability around the world regarding health issues, imminent natural earth threats, such as earthquakes and hurricanes and possible economic changes in the economy. People are generally feeling more vulnerable to conditions out of their control.
Homeowners priorities are likely to change from fashion to security and comfort. Important features of the home will include excellent natural light, comfort in common areas when hunkering down is necessary, protection from the elements and possible energy outages.
Homeowners in the future may consider buying or building smaller houses to protect themselves against economic downturns and up costs in energy.
With the population veering towards an older age demographic, people will want to consider aspects which allow them to age in place or be comfortable for visits by their elderly parents or other relatives. These aspects will include Universal Design features, which make a house comfortable for all people with all different physical abilities. This also includes adequate lighting, a level entrance to the house, barrier-free showers, easy use handles, grab bars in showers and so on.
People are likely to prepare for future imminent threats by owning more refrigeration and freezers. According to the New York Times, “As the coronavirus continues to spread, and people stock up to hunker down for weeks or longer, freezers are getting harder to find, making them another unexpectedly hot commodity for consumers.” Future kitchens may well include more than one refrigerator/freezer in preparation for future needs.
With the pandemic occurring people are now realizing the importance of outdoor space to get fresh air. People living un apartments are utilizing terraces and homeowners are appreciating their outdoor spaces – with decks, porches and so on. Homeowners may be more conscientious in creating comfortable outdoor spaces in their future homes.
With the understanding that unexpected things happen, homeowners may also choose to provide for other unexpected vulnerabilities. Outages occur and people may want to consider creating their own energy with geothermal or solar energy systems. And mechanisms to collect rainwater will be helpful in a draught, which is particularly problematic in certain areas.
The new reality for homeowners in the future may be that more space is not better, but a safer better designed house is what we all need for any eventualities that may befall us.