What home trends will come out of the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020? What kinds of changes and trends would we expect to see on Buyer wish lists on Oahu? In new construction? And in remodels? The Cocooning we are doing this year and the is sure to influence our home desires and needs in the future.
We’re only into this a few months, and already I can see issues people are having, with their homes and lifestyles. I’ve seen and heard about some of my friends and family rearranging their homes, switching bedrooms with their kids, getting rid of wasted spaces, putting together makeshift storage areas, and various other maneuverings to make their homes work better while we are sheltering in place. Personally, our small family has struggled as we vie for space and quietude to work/go to school from home at the same time, in a relatively small space.
As and after the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 ends, I predict certain trends will be emerging on Oahu:
1. Home Offices
Home offices have been important, but they will be even more important, for both adults and children, in the coming years. We all need a quiet place to work or study, especially if we have to do it from home. This is especially true if multiple people have to work or study from home at the same time. I would expect to see more people than ever asking for a quiet, dedicated work space in their new homes or adding dedicated home offices and work spaces in their remodels.
2. Larger Living Spaces
While the past several years have been about tiny homes and minimizing everything, I see less of that ahead. The ideal living space will perhaps be larger. It’s nice to have a room where everyone can get comfortable together to spend time, watch a movie, or whatever. A covered outdoor space will also be even more important for us here in Hawaii where we are outside year-round.
I don’t see larger bedrooms or bathrooms to necessarily follow, as we don’t spend our waking time in these rooms. I would imagine, however, after we are all cooped up during this Pandemic, many will start feeling confined in smaller living spaces and long for more spacious living.
3. Better Kitchens
During the Pandemic more people are or will be cooking at home. People are brushing up on their cooking skills, baking more, and trying new things. There are many young gourmets in the making. Who knew our kids could cook? Though, maybe by the time this is over, some people will be sick of cooking and want to eat out every night. But for many, budget will not allow and we will continue cooking at home. A nice kitchen is important to most already, but I would expect to see large kitchens and nicer appliances become even more important, especially to younger buyers.
4. Dedicated Recreation & Exercise Space
As we shelter in place, we look for recreation, exercise and entertainment inside our homes. We might also look in our yards, for outdoor recreational spaces. This might mean larger spaces, but could also mean more amenities inside and out. In Hawaii, people who can afford it might decide to splurge for that pool or a home basketball court. Or maybe a home gym, an outdoor kitchen, or media room? As we become experts at Cocooning, we may look for even more ways to entertain ourselves, and our families and friends, in our homes and yards.
5. Larger Food Pantry / More Storage
While I am never an advocate of hoarding anything, it does help to have plentiful storage space at home. In Hawaii, we have always been advised to keep at least 2 weeks of water and non-perishable food, and other supplies on hand for weather emergencies. Certain types of cleaning and other supplies have also been important during this Pandemic. Where do we put all of this?
Many homes in Hawaii are small and sorely lacking in storage. I would imagine after the Pandemic, large closets in the kitchen and or laundry/utility areas, for needed supplies, would be on the wish lists of many homebuyers. I can see home remodeling projects having this as a priority also.
6. Home Security
I think more people will want to purchase homes that have home security systems, or people will be installing them in their home. After feeling vulnerable, during a Pandemic, I predict that people will want things in their homes that provide them with feelings of security. This might include, not only cameras and alarms, but better gates, fences, windows, and doors.
7. Garden Space / Acreage
During this Pandemic, I’ve seen many people start gardens. Not just for beauty, but to grow food. I think we will see more people looking for housing options where there may be the ability to grow their own food and even raise chickens or other animals from home. This might mean a dedicated garden space, a larger yard, or even acreage and AG zoned land. A Pandemic, especially when it occurs on an isolated island chain, as in Hawaii, can make people start thinking about how to become more self-sufficient, in cases of disaster.
8. Back-up Power Storage / Generators
Another way people can become more self-sufficient at their home, during serious storm or disaster is to have a back-up power supply and/or generator. These items are useful in hurricanes and other power outage situations, which are fairly common in Hawaii. I would expect to see more people adding these to their home wish lists and remodeling plans after the Pandemic.
9. Safe Rooms
For some people, shelter in place strategies may be taken to a higher level. More people may be looking into safe rooms. Safe rooms are specially fortified places in the home, which can better protect our families in a weather disaster or civil disruption. They are places where we can hunker down, at least temporarily when we really need to. Personally, I’ve not seen a home for sale yet, on Oahu, that has a safe room, but it could be something that people think more about after a Pandemic.
10. Single Family v. Condo? Town v. Country?
Some people might also be re-thinking the actual type of housing they live in after a Pandemic. This is not necessarily a trend, but just some additional considerations that some might have in the near future.
For example, I just had a friend tell me she regrets her decision to have downsized from a single-family home to a condo. This is after living in this Pandemic only a few weeks. While she loved having no outdoor space to maintain after moving to a condo, her condo building shut down all public outdoor spaces during the Pandemic. Her family has no place to go outside without going down to the street. She also had to unexpectedly move all three of her college-aged kids home for longer than a winter break.
They are busting at the seams, though they have the same number of bedrooms as before. If she had to do it over, she would opt for a townhome or smaller home, versus a condo, to preserve her ability to access her own outdoor space and larger interior space during lockdown. Also, she doesn’t like the closeness of everyone in the building, and sharing of elevators and doors with so many other people during a Pandemic. For her family, a condo is not a great place to live during a Pandemic.
Others might prefer a condo to a single-family home for almost the exact same reasons. Someone is a single-family home might feel isolated during a Pandemic, not having neighbors as near. Others might prefer, being in the country to being in the city after a Pandemic. However, I think there are pros and cons to each setting, and opinions may differ. In any event, the Pandemic might get people thinking about a change of type of home or location, which might work best for them.
The Ideal Hawaii Home After 2020
These are my predictions for the Top 10 Home Trends in Hawaii After the Coronavirus. Overall, it is my feeling that the most sought after homes are going to be the ones most suitable for Cocooning. In Hawaii, most things that made homes more desirable won’t change that much. People have always like beautiful, functional kitchens and larger spaces for entertaining. The indoor-outdoor lifestyle has also always been at a premium here, in Hawaii. However, I think that homes with extra storage, and which allow their owners to be more self-sustaining and to achieve feelings of greater personal safety will be even more desirable than usual after the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020.
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