The coronavirus abruptly and severely altered Americans everyday lives. The experience will leave a lasting impact on culture including housing trends.
HOME GYMS AND OFFICES
At the height of the shutdown, a majority of Alaska families sheltered in their houses. The traditional home suddenly became a daycare, school and place of work. And for most people, their home wasn’t setup to handle the transition smoothly.
Homeowners are now looking at home offices as a necessity. Although it was originally forced by COVID, many employers now realize the benefits and possibilities of employees doing part-time or full-time remote work. A dedicated office space allows people to be more productive and efficient while at home. Making a space for at-home gyms is also surging in popularity.
MOVING OUT OF THE CITY
COVID made many people realize the limitations of urban life. Cities with higher population densities, like New York, saw more cases and restrictions. Suddenly, for many people the idea of bustling city life is much less appealing than the prospect of a quiet home in the suburbs.
As the economy beings to reopen and people return to work or search for new jobs, suburban areas are expected to see an influx of people leaving the city. Suburban areas give people space and the ability to socially distance more effectively. People are looking to trade small apartments in the city for bigger homes, more land and ample access to outdoor recreation. Alaska has everything people are looking for and may soon begin to see an influx of people moving in.
Builders are seeing increased demand for single-family homes. These homes allow for more space and privacy. Sales for multifamily housing are expected to be down significantly this year. Most of these units are purchased as rentals. Robert Dietz, the chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders predicts that there’s a small window where there will be an increase in demand for single-family homes built to rent instead of own.
VIRTUAL HOME SHOPPING
Alaska’s construction industry remained open during the shutdown, however changes in the process were made to make buying and selling homes a safe and informative experiences. Even with lighter restrictions, virtual tours and private self-tours will probably stick around as convenient options for viewing homes on the market.
Mortgage rates are at historic lows. Lower rates increase the size of the mortgage borrowers can get because monthly payments shrink with lower interest rates. This means homebuyers are getting more house for their buck. And the good news is that these historically low rates are expected to stick around.