Homebuyer Buzz: The Top Housing Markets for 2021 and the Rise of Bonus Spaces

January 28, 2021

Homebuyer Buzz: The Top Housing Markets for 2021 and the Rise of Bonus Spaces

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.   

2021 predictions continue to come in — including the top markets to look out for (familiarize yourself now with the phrase “Sunbelt surge), and the design trends that will define the year (like flexible bonus spaces). Keep reading for the latest in homebuyer trends.  

A peek at the top housing markets for 2021 

Austin is expected to be the nation’s hottest market in 2021A panel of experts determined that Austin is set to lead a Sunbelt surge in 2021. The city held the same honor in 2020. Phoenix, Nashville, Tampa and Denver are predicted to follow behind, representing the likeliest markets to outperform the national market by the largest margins. To the contrary , expensive coastal cities like New York City and San Francisco are expected to underperform compared to the national average. [Zillow] 

Meanwhile, these markets could benefit big from work-from-home and migrationBuilder pulled the top markets to watch for in 2021, but don’t expect an exact repeat of Zillow’s list. Instead, Builder assessed the medium-sized metros that have existing infrastructure in place — from highway systems to lot inventory and the labor market  to best welcome new residentsSalt Lake City, Nashville and Raleigh came out on top with Columbus, Ohio, rounding out the list at number 10. [Builder] 

Massachusetts ranks as the best place to raise a familyWe know millennials are entering the home market after big life events like marriage and children, and it turns out the best place to raise a family is in the Northeast. Massachusetts ranked first for its quality public schools, parental leave and more. Other Northeastern states featured in the top 10 included New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Connecticut. The worst states included Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma and Mississippi. [U.S. News and World Report] 

Kitchens as a selling point  

Top kitchen trends include Shaker-style cabinetsShaker-style cabinets are holding onto the crown for another year (which we wrote about here), as transitional style remains popular. The data comes from a recent Houzz survey, which also shows that fewer homeowners wanted open-concept kitchens leading into the new year. Another must-have? Kitchen storage, which was also a homebuyer favorite in 2020. And in more evidence that white cabinets are a safe bet, 41 percent of homeowners surveyed chose white for their remodeling projects. [Realtor.com] 

Homes with new kitchens list for higher pricesRedfin found that homes with a new kitchen are listed for more and often sell above list price. While their article focuses on existing homes with remodeled kitchens, it’s good news for home builders who can offer pristine kitchens. The median list price for homes with a new kitchen were almost $15,000 higher than the national median. [Redfin] 

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What women homebuyers want 

Single women homebuyers like townhomes and row houses. Single women who are shopping for homes represent the second-largest buying group in the U.S. at 18 percent. Compared to all other buyers, they are two times as likely to buy a townhouse or row house. They also purchase the least expensive and smallest homes (reflecting income and affordability challenges) and want to be close to friends and family. [RISMedia] 

Even more 2021 design trends 

Eight trends that’ll be huge in 2021 include bonus spaces. Bonus spaces that can double as a home office are unsurprisingly expected to be big for 2021 as people continue to work from home, and possibly work from home permanently. Designer kitchens “fit for a chef” are also expected to be big, thanks to cooking as a new hobby, while outdoor dining offers an attractive alternative to going out. Floor-to-ceiling windows are also on trend with renewed appreciation for natural light. [Redfin] 

New Builder floorplans include pocket officesThe growing importance of flexible spaces for offices isn’t lost in these floorplans featured by Builder. Pocket spaces are also a good solution to avoid any overreactions to the pandemic that won’t be long-lasting but can still provide options for the here and now. [Builder/The Washington Post] 

Here are the most uniquely popular interior design styles by stateA recent survey by Rae Duncan Interior Design analyzed the most popular design styles by state. They found that global design, which merges international accents and natural materials, is one of the most searched styles and is particularly popular in the West, Midwest and Northeast. Farmhouse was a popular style for Southern states, meanwhile Californians love minimalism and Massachusetts is all about Art Deco. [Realtor.com] 

A word on tiny homes

Is a tiny home takeover on the horizon? Perhaps not, but the tiny house market saw a boom in popularity in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. The option, while not great for families, can be attractive to single people and couples, and survey by IPX 1031 found that 56 percent of people said they would live in a tiny home. They also found that 86 percent of respondents would consider buying a tiny home as a starter home. Tiny homes are most popular in rural states in the Northwest and Northeast. [Insider] 

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