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Today’s real estate trends reflect the reality that, after months of quarantine, Americans who have not been economically impacted by the pandemic are looking at their homes and realizing that they want something bigger and better. “Everybody that ever wanted to do anything is doing it now,” says Stacey Oestreich, a saleswoman for Douglas Elliman in Westchester County, New York. “There has always been the holdback, but now they’re doing it. If they wanted to move out of state, they’re doing it. If they always wanted Mom to come live with them, they’re doing it.”

1. Location Independence

After months of remote work, buyers are cutting ties with the cities where they work, looking for more space and privacy in the suburbs, the country, and second-home destinations like South Lake Tahoe, Palm Beach, Hawaii, and the Hamptons. They are looking for larger homes, on large lots. Some are buying land when they can’t find what they want in a frenzied market. “They’re moving farther afield,” says Andrew Cogar, president of Historical Concepts. His architectural firm has seen an uptick in business in Maryland, the Carolinas, and Virginia. “Everyone is on Zoom. You can set up your base anywhere.”

2. A Multi-Purpose Sanctuary

As Americans work, study, and exercise at home, they are expecting much more from their homes. “People are digging into their homes in a way that we haven’t seen since the 1950s,” says designer Patrick Mele. “People want to make their homes as singular and interesting and particular to them as they can.” They want space to exercise, and not just on a Peloton bike in the bedroom but in a light-filled room that can rival that canceled SoulCycle membership. They want a dedicated home office, and probably two, with good lighting and an elegant backdrop for a Zoom call. “The pandemic reaction is all about being inside your bubble,” says Mala Sander, an associate broker with Corcoran in the Hamptons. “You are making your bubble as beautiful and accessible as possible.”

3. A Home, Not Just a Showpiece

Suzanne Kasler’s design clients are looking for spaces that are as comfortable as they are welcoming, with durable fabrics that will hold up to extra use. “Having a more comfortable and more accessible and more usable house is important because everybody is home and they need a place to go,” says Kasler. The home office, arguably the biggest “must-have” of the moment, needs to be functional, not just attractive, even if that means the printer is no longer hidden inside a cabinet. Homeowners are “not apologizing that it is a working office,” Cogar says. “Desk spaces get bigger, lighting gets better.”

4. Second Home, Primary Destination

The second home has taken on a central role for homeowners who retreated to theirs during the pandemic, and many homeowners are adding upgrades more typical of a primary residence, like more storage and expanded kitchen pantries. Those who didn’t own a second home before the pandemic are looking to buy one now, focusing on properties that could be used on a regular basis, with space for the children to study, and good wireless networks so the family can work, not just play.

Second-home markets are seeing a surge in buyers. “When I was a kid, I always said people come [here] to spend their money, not make it,” says Whitney McGurk, a sales associate at Brown Harris Stevens in Palm Beach, Florida. “Now they’re moving their businesses here” and staying longer.

5. Outdoor Expansion

Pandemic life has been one lived largely outdoors, so homes with ample outdoor space are selling fast. Homeowners want those spaces to be welcoming, with pools, cabanas, and outdoor living rooms with features like a fireplace, a television, a bathroom, and a kitchen with a pizza oven. Homeowners are also looking for quiet nooks so they can escape without ever leaving. Barn houses, sheds, garages, and carriage houses are being converted to artist studios, home offices, or classroom space for the children. Landscape architect Miranda Brooks says some of her clients are now living in the country full-time, experiencing their homes in a different way than before. As the world rapidly changes around them, she says, “They are sort of reimagining their lives.”

Article Source: [www.architecturaldigest.com]

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