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Homebuyer Buzz: Homebuying Interest is Up, Maximalism Is Out

October 29, 2020

Homebuyer Buzz: Homebuying Interest is Up, Maximalism Is Out

Homebuyer Buzz is our monthly round-up of news stories related to the latest in homebuying trends — from the evolving wants of homebuyers to design news and more.   

Homebuying interest has increased following the pandemic, with millennials driving the way. Meanwhile consumers have lost interest in the design trend "maximalism" as a result of COVID-19. We also look at how outdoor space could be changing (think interior courtyards like the ancient Romans had), and what Generation Z homebuyers are up to.  

Gen Z looking for homes in affordable metros. A LendingTree study found that Generation Z homebuyers are heading to metros like Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City, and Indianapolis. Why? The young generation, known for being more frugal, appears to be looking for a better deal. Gen Zers currently make up about 10 percent of potential home buyers in the largest metros in the country. [Realtor.com] 

Homebuying interest has increased amid COVID-19. According to NAHB data, 13 percent of Americans are considering purchasing a home in the next year. That’s an increase of one percentage point over 2019 and represents the first year-over-year gain in the three-year history of NAHB’s series. Millennials are the primary driver, with 22 percent of prospective homebuyers looking to buy a home in the next 12 months. [NAHB Now] 

“Absolutely insane” housing demand expected to continue into 2021. Redfin’s CEO Glenn Kelman told CNBC that he predicts the pandemic-driven housing boom will extend into 2021. He indicated that demand is being driven by well-off professionals who are able to work remotely, in addition to low interest rates. He also suggested housing supply would be likely to increase post-election, when there will be less uncertainty. [CNBC] 

Wood-look building materials likely to be popular. Two wood-look materials  wood-plastic composite and plastic lumber  will likely grow in demand in exterior applications according to The Freedonia Group. It’s forecasted that demand will rise about four percent annually to reach $4.9 billon in 2024. The materials are growing in popularity thanks to their pricing advantages and performance. [ProSales] 

Maximalism: a short-lived design trend? That’s at least according to Fast Company, which posits that maximalism, characterized by “more is more” designis a casualty of the pandemic. COVID-19 has homeowners craving more minimalist details again, though the cold colors of past minimalism will be replaced by warm and soothing tones. Turns out a similar thing happened following the pandemic of 1918. [Fast Company] 

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The colors of COVID (are calming). The stress of the pandemic is influencing the home décor colors people are gravitating toward, with neutral shades, soothing blues and greens, classic white and calming pinks gaining in popularity. A CEO of one paint company said whites and light neutrals have been top sellers for the year, with noticeably increased sales of pinks and yellows. She suggestpeople could also be looking for more cheerful colors. [Architectural Digest] 

Some sellers still sitting back due to uncertainty. Zillow reports that financial anxiety and uncertainty are keeping some sellers off the market. According to their research, about a third of homeowners who are considering selling in the next few years have said they feel too uncertain about life and too financially uncertain to list their homes. Nearly 40 percent of these homeowners also believe they’ll get a higher sale price if they hold out. [Zillow] 

Repurposed malls are becoming senior housing. It’s been an often-asked question post-pandemic: can former retail sites be repurposed for housingIt's not a new question, but the retail-to-housing transformation has been accelerated by the pandemic, and in some cases, senior housing developers are repurposing abandoned spaces for senior care facilities. Across the country, there have been 400 proposals to retrofit retail sites, with 315 projects completed or underway. [The New York Times] 

Millennials are driving the desire for bigger homes. The pandemic has shifted how some younger, millennial families with children would like to live  namely, in a detached home with a large yard  according to a National Association of Realtors surveyThat’s a change from February, when most Americans reported preferring a smaller yard in a walkable area. Still, the survey found that the demand for walkability continues with respondents strongly agreeing that walkability results in an increased quality of life. [NAR] 

Could interior courtyards make a comeback? It’s possible according to industry insiders who are seeing a desire for more private outdoor havens. Interior courtyards, which can be traced to ancient Roman homes, are an opportunity to connect the indoors with the out, a trend that’s been popular since the rise of the pandemic. One Houzz editor indicated she expects single-family homes and multifamily developments will incorporate more outdoor connections in the future. [Forbes] 

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