Homebuyer Buzz: 2021 Will Bring Millennials and COVID-Influenced Design Trends

December 30, 2020


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.   

Is it any surprise that the pandemic has ushered in a slew of new design trends and expectations for the home? From a desire for cozier interiors to more well-lit spaces and better smart home tech, home builders and manufacturers will have the chance to show how well they’ve kept up with the times in the new yearOne way to do that is to appeal to millennial homebuyers who have become more interested in entering the housing market since the start of the pandemic.  

Watch out for millennial homebuyers 

Millennials are a growing force in the real estate market. Here are some things you should know about millennial homebuyers: they want move-in ready homes in family-friendly locations but are often burdened by student debtThey’re also planning to stay in their first homes longer than their parents and, thanks to the pandemic, are now more interested in becoming homebuyers[Patch] 

The long-lasting impacts of COVID-19 

Pandemic-inspired behavior changes are likely to last. The second wave of the America at Home studyfirst conducted in April, shows that pandemic-inspired behavior like “disinfecting more,” “upgrading technology” and “using the backyard to entertain family and friends” will continue going forward. The study also found that a desire for laundry rooms, dedicated eating areas and better equipped kitchens rose since the first part of the study. Meanwhile, millennials indicated they’d be willing to pay more for antimicrobial surfaces and materials. [Builder] 

COVID has caused families to shun nursing homesThe pandemic has impacted how families are choosing to care for their elderly members, with more families reluctant to send loved ones to senior care facilities. In fact, occupancy in nursing homes is down 15 percent in the U.S. Instead, home-health options have been the preferred option for patients leaving the hospital. The trend appears to be long-lasting. [Realtor.com] 

The process for selling houses has changed foreverExperts believe these trends are here to stay: curbside and no-touch closings, robust listings with high-quality photos, virtual showings and sight-unseen home purchases. Detailed online information has helped home shoppers narrow down their choices before they visit properties in person, while virtual tours help out-of-state shoppers view every nook and cranny of a space, helping them feel more confident in making sight-unseen purchases. [Realtor.com] 

COVID has also impacted apartment touring for good. Like with homes, renters are also expecting virtual tours when it comes to viewing apartments now. It’s also a more efficient way to lease properties, with sight-unseen leasing becoming the norm for some in the industry. There’s also a greater emphasis on capturing the renter online with 3D tours and videos so they’re likely to view fewer apartments before deciding on which one to lease. [Bisnow] 

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Get ready for these 2021 design trends 

New hardwood trends are coming. According to interior designers, 2021 will herald in four new hardwood styles: natural wood colors and stains, select-grade hardwoods, rift-cut floors and longer boards. In keeping with other pandemic-inspired design trends, the shift to these styles is a result of a desire for more simplicity in the home. Natural woods and cleaner looking styles help to bring more tranquility into a space. [Realtor.com] 

2021 design to focus on soothing homeownersForecasters are predicting that 2021 with be the year of the “soothing” home. In real terms, that means we could see more nostalgic touches like antiques and vintage prints as well as an increased use of natural-inspired tones like forest greens, sky blues and earthy pigments. We’re also likely to see more enveloping, cozy furniture and better lighting that mimics natural light (particularly for spaces that don’t have good natural light). [AD PRO] 

These “inspiring” colors will dominate 2021. More time in the home gave way to a greater appreciation this year for colors that lift the moodIn 2021, interior designers believe four colors are key to calming and invigorating homeowners. They include warm neutrals (like taupe), dramatic black, natural greens and serene blues. [Dwell] 

2021 will emphasize living in living roomsWith living rooms now serving as multifunctional spaces, designers are predicting that the spaces will become cozier with more options for seating and activities in the new year. Homeowners will also want to upgrade their entertainment spaces with better tech and lounge seating. We could also see a greater use of bold colors mixed with neutrals to create vibrant spaces. [Elle Décor] 

Don't forget about smart home featuresFrom new connection standards to increased usage of smart tech in multifamily developments, experts are predicting smart home technology will continue to grow in 2021. Smart lighting, to encourage wellness or enhance home entertainment, and spatial understanding are also expected to grow (think the ability to ask Google to only turn on the lights around the couch). [Real Homes] 

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