Homebuyer Buzz: The Suburbs Are Still a Draw, As Is the “Zoom Room”

December 7, 2021


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.  

In the final month of 2021, we look at where homebuyers are interested in living — surprise, it’s still the suburbs — and how their perspective is informed by their age. We also look at 2022 home décor predictions, including the rise of the “Zoom room” and a desire for more color. 

Suburbs are still a draw 

While cities are receiving renewed interest, suburbs are still in demandA recent Realtor.com report found that the number of homebuyers looking for homes in the suburbs surged 42.1% since the start of the pandemic. And the popularity doesn't appear to be waning, with suburban homes accounting for 62% of online homes views on the real estate listing site. That percentage compares to 38% for listing in urban areas. [Realtor.com] 

Meanwhile, homebuyers looking to relocate dipped slightlyRedfin found that the number of users looking to move metros decreased to 30% in October, down from 32% at the start of the pandemic. Still, the share of homebuyers looking to relocate is above pre-pandemic levels, when it was around 26% of users. The analysis is based on a sample of 2 million Redfin users who searched for homes across 111 metro areas. Miami, Phoenix and Sacramento are among the top metros homebuyers want to move to. [Redfin] 

Older Americans want to age in place, and Gen Zers like single-family 

Most older Americans want to age in their homesAccording to an AARP survey on home and community preferences, 77% of Americans older than 50 want to stay in their homes for the long term. Only 29% said they would want to move to another community. The desire for aging in place could have a big impact on the housing market as the number of households headed by people 65 or over is expected to grow from 34 million to 48 million in the next two decades. [AARP] 

Single-family rentals are popular among Gen ZersThe National Apartment Association surveyed Gen Zers between 18 and 23 years old on rental preferences and found that 43% want to rent a single-family detached home after they enter the workforce. According to Bisnow, investors are taking notice. Meanwhile, 44% want to live in a “vibrant suburb” and 23% want to live in a city setting. [Bisnow] 

Apartment occupancy is setting new recordsIn addition to record rents, apartment occupancy reached a new high of 97.5% in November, according to RealPage. While rent and occupancy typically cool going into winter, demand continues to outstrip supply thanks to high prices in the for-sale market and fewer people choosing to live with roommates. [CNBC] 

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Consumer confidence falls  

Consumers weren’t feeling as confident in NovemberThe consumer confidence index decreased to 109.5 in November, down from 111.6 in October, which represents a nine-month low. In February, the index stood at 95.2. Rising prices appear to be the driving force behind the decline (the survey was taken before the omicron variant appeared and would not reflect concerns about that). [PBS] 

Home design trends for 2022 

Home décor in 2022 will include lots of color. Interior designers told Insider that homeowners are embracing color more than ever to warm up their homes, particularly bright and cheery colors, as well as warm grays. Other trends include the rise of antiques, textured furniture, “elevated” offices and dark wainscoting. [Insider] 

The living room, in particular, will see colors like olive greenInterior designers also lent their opinion to House Beautiful about what colors will overtake living rooms, and their answers show an embrace of color and classic style. On the list: olive green, purple and crimson red. Also on the list: whites, earthy tones and soft neutrals, including calming blues and greens. [House Beautiful] 

The “Zoom room” is a homebuyer wantWhile open floorplans are still appealing, private space that can become a “Zoom room” is on the list for modern buyers. One home builder said they’re getting more requests to “carve up the floorplan.” A new trend, they said, was to add a bedroom or desk area behind the kitchen. While people still want the connectivity of the open plan, they also want their own space. [Tennessean] 

Looking ahead to next year’s market 

Realtor.com 2022 Forecast predicts continued seller’s marketThe Realtor.com 2022 Housing Forecast is predicting that 2022 will see strong home sales growth, with a competitive seller’s market — though Americans could have a better chance at finding a home. Realtor.com is forecasting that existing home sales will go up 6.6% while single-family housing starts will go up 5%. [Realtor.com] 

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