The year 2020 has caught more people spending time at home due to the effects of COVID where stay-at-home orders were implemented. Companies have shifted their workforce into working from home and most students shifted from physicals schools to online or homeschooling. Ever since the COVID outbreak, it has completely changed the way most people view their homes. Aside from being a sanctuary for relaxation and family time, our homes have become an office, gym, cinema, even a jungle for indoor plant lovers as it became difficult to get their daily dose of nature from the outside due to shelter-in-place, so why not bring nature at home?
The pandemic had an impact on Austin's housing market which had led to a decline in home sales due to the critically low levels of inventory. The housing demand is high and the supply cannot match as mortgage are still at its historically low rates and large companies relocating to Austin will play a huge role in what might happen in the local housing market.
There are different buyer trends that have changed in Austin during COVID. Some of these are shifting into closed floor plans from open floor plans, moving into the rural and suburbs to avoid the densely populated areas, and more to which we will outline on this blog.
1. Home Office
A dedicated home office has become essential during COVID. Businesses have become flexible when it comes to working arrangements with their teams with most of the time being spent at home. Ideally, you’d want to have a home office in a separate room that can suppress noise, help you become efficient and productive with zero to fewer distractions. With tech being a massive industry in Austin wherein most workers can easily shift into working from home, home office spaces are a must for many homebuyers these days. Austin, TX ranks #9 among the nation's best big cities to work from home.
2. Larger Outdoor Space
With people staying at home and are avoiding travel, large outdoor spaces are zen for homeowners that are avoiding using communal facilities and would rather spend more time by investing in personal amenities within their homes. A large outdoor space can be used as a gathering area with your family where you can spend cookouts, do yoga, or for relaxation to get away from the four corners of your home. Some families would construct a pool, a patio, an outdoor kitchen, or a playground for their children. Outdoor living spaces have become growing popular due to the restrictions in outdoor amenities over the past year.
3. Five Star Amenities
Luxury homes are getting increased attention from home buyers that are interested in five-star amenities to be integrated into their new homes which they have missed having in their lives. Some homeowners have also looked towards condominiums where they can find everything they need in one building from pools, magnificent views of the Austin skyline, coworking spaces, business lounges, and café areas.
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4. Closed Floor Plans
Open floor plans have become a new trend over the past few years until COVID happened. People are looking for dedicated workspaces in their homes in order to work and be productive. Now that families are finding themselves staying and working from home, the idea of open floor plans isn’t as favored as it used to be. Privacy and being able to ‘close the door' have become a must-have for families with children. Homebuyers are also looking for homes with rooms that can serve multiple purposes such as dining rooms that can be converted into a home office or an extra space within a room for their children to do their schoolwork.
5. Energy Efficient
With most work being done at home, high electricity consumption can be an issue for homeowners. An energy-efficient home can be a great selling point for buyers especially to those who are debating whether to get a new build home in Austin or an older home. Green homes may come across as expensive in the beginning but can be a good investment in the long run.
6. Rural and Suburban Areas
A demand in suburban and rural homes was seen in the Austin real estate market. Homebuyers are choosing to relocate to Austin's rural areas and suburbs to adapt to the new work from home culture. Living away from a dense population has become a renewed focus by homeowners. This trend has been seen since the start of the pandemic where living close to restaurants, bars, and event venues is not as much of a priority for most home buyers. People are seeking a more affordable home with large backyard spaces for their families. According to ACBJ, the parent company of Austin Business Journal, the popularity of large communities outside dense urban areas can be seen nationwide.
7. Proximity to Open Spaces and Homes with a Greener Outlook
While some homeowners are looking into having homes with large outdoor spaces, houses that are near beaches, trails, and open spaces have also become a trend. Large open spaces can be a safe area to spend outdoor time while the presence of greenery in your own home, whether it's a waterfront or a yard with a gorgeous landscape, it helps improve the ventilation and natural daylight coming into homes. This makes a hugely significant difference for homeowners that spend most of their time at home making it more livable, appealing, and has been proven to promote healthy well-being.
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