PHILADELPHIA — Spending so much time at home in 2020 has forced us to rethink how we use our space and to invest in things we never knew we needed: a roof deck, a home gym, an outdoor heater, no-touch appliances. Even with the promise of the COVID-19 vaccines, 2021 challenges us to decide which lifestyle and design changes to keep and which to abandon.
Here are Zillow’s predictions on amenities likely to add comfort — and possibly extra value — to your home in the coming year.
Employer decisions on the future of remote work could trigger home design and location choices. A desire for a home with a dedicated office tops the list of reasons Americans working from home (even occasionally) would consider a move, a Zillow survey found.
Pennsylvania builder Berks Homes told Zillow that requests for an at-home study in lieu of existing living space more than doubled this year. As of November, Zillow found, the number of listings mentioning home office or Zoom room increased by 48.5% compared with the same time last year.
With lots of time and nowhere to go, people will continue to create vacation settings at home. Pool was the top Zillow keyword search term in 2020.
“We know we’ve still got a long stretch of isolation ahead of us, and we’re trying to make the best of it,” a homeowner in Malvern said last spring.
Other families opted for new play sets, trampolines and bouncy houses to keep kids busy and bolster their physical and mental health.
Some homeowners took a step further, turning their favorite vacation destination into their hometown, Zillow found. Waterfront and dock also landed in Zillow’s top 10 search terms for 2020, and page views of for-sale listings in areas typically considered vacation destinations — such as Key West, the Jersey Shore and Cape Cod — are up nearly 50% compared with last year.
Intergenerational living will rise in popularity, Zillow predicts, as young adults and grandparents move in with family for financial and health reasons. According to Generations United, about one in six Americans live in multigenerational households, and in 2020, the share of young people moving back home reached an all-time high.
Katie Detwiler, chief experience officer at Berks Homes, told Zillow the trend is affecting how people design new homes, with more requests than ever before for a finished basement with a full bathroom, and bedroom additions.
This year returned people to cooking and baking like never before. A Zillow survey found that 41% of people value a well-equipped kitchen more than ever because of social-distancing recommendations — and these budding chefs will want space to show off their new skills next year.
“We’ve seen an increase in requests for gourmet kitchens,” Detwiler told Zillow.
Large islands are very popular, according to the Houzz 2020 Kitchen Trends Study. “Nearly two-thirds of renovated kitchens feature an island, and the majority are more than six feet long and often have cabinets and countertops that contrast with the rest of the kitchen, so they really stand out,” Marine Sargsyan, senior economist for the home design website, said in April.
With social-distancing requirements, a safe, functional yard has taken on renewed importance, and homeowners are enhancing their outdoor decor.
Zillow research finds that homes mentioning fire pit in the listing sold for 2.8% more than similar homes, and outdoor kitchen sold for 4.5% more. Smart sprinkler systems and outdoor lighting also can help your home sell faster.
People here and elsewhere dealt with rapidly changing restrictions for gyms and yoga and martial arts studios by carving out fitness spaces in their homes. In November, 4.1% of for-sale listings mentioned health and wellness areas, Zillow says.
With many people staying home and using online classes, that means a Zoom room large enough for a workout.
Work flexibility made it easier to add pets to the family in 2020. Zillow predicts that pets will figure into home buyer and renter choices in 2021. “Pet-friendly” rentals are on the rise, Zillow researchers found, with 73.1% of rental listings allowing pets, and more home listings are touting dog showers and fenced yards.
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