When the country went into lockdown after the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, many people had to adjust to their new normal of working remotely. Almost overnight, people began working from home, whether that was in a dedicated office space or a temporary set up at a dining room table. This new normal came with its challenges, and now as Canada begins to loosen restrictions and the real estate markets begin to pick up, there seem to be some new trends that are emerging in people’s home buying and selling decisions.
We reached out to our RE/MAX Influencers – a panel of RE/MAX Sales Associates from across Canada – who provided some insight into what emerging trends they have been seeing as people become more comfortable with beginning their home buying or selling journey.
Yards, Outdoor Spaces & Gardens
The largest trend that has emerged in real estate searches recently is the need for more outdoor space. Whether this be an apartment with a good-sized balcony, a townhome with a rooftop patio or a single-family home with a large backyard, people are on the hunt for more space outside. As many people transitioned to working from home and were not out and about daily, they found themselves looking for more ways to get outside, whether that be by sitting on a patio or going for a walk around their neighbourhood. Outdoor space has become a big-ticket item for many people who are now searching for homes, as they are taking outdoor space and neighbourhood walkability more seriously.
One REALTOR® mentioned that, “what I think will be a huge upcoming trend is green-living, self-sustainable homes and gardens. Things that mean we can create our own little worlds with less dependency on the supply chain will be huge”. Many buyers now are looking for an area to plant a vegetable garden or are looking for somewhere to put raised garden beds to grow their own veggies and herbs.
Bigger yards have also been on the wish list of many people currently searching for single family homes. With many kids being home from school currently, a large yard is a great way to get them outside to burn off some energy. More yard space also allows for other secondary buildings, such as a workshop or small greenhouse, which is also appealing to people who may be looking for a workspace at home.
Home Offices & Playrooms
A home office has become a huge emerging trend in real estate recently, as many people are still working remotely and are looking for a dedicated space to work from. As Canada shifted into lockdown and many people switched to working from home, finding space to do your work became challenging and many people resorted to having to work from a kitchen table or kitchen island. As a result of this, many people put a designated office space at the top of their wish list when it came time to begin looking for homes.
Having a home office that allows you to separate your work life from your home life is great, but many people also found themselves looking for a room that could also double as a playroom. Around the time that many people began working from home, schools also closed which resulted in many parents having to juggle between parenting duties and work duties. This is where having the extra space in a backyard came into play, as it allowed kids to get out of the house to burn off some energy while parents were working inside. Playrooms also became an emerging trend, as they allow kids to play safely inside without being directly underfoot while parents are working.
As noted by one REALTOR®, “we are seeing more requests for separated workspaces, offices, or an additional room that could be an office, and/or play areas for children”.
Who is Currently Looking?
One of the biggest questions that has emerged during COVID-19 is that of who is currently looking at houses? Our RE/MAX Influencers were able to give some great insight into this, as they are the ones working directly with buyers and sellers. There are always people who are needing to buy and sell due to different circumstances, but the uptick in the market in June and July saw some people looking to sell and buy something nicer with a bit more spacious in the chance that the country goes back into isolation.
One agent says, “the pandemic has really put the looky-loos to the sidelines, and we are dealing with a higher proportion of serious clients”. The shift to virtual open houses and Zoom meetings between REALTORS® and clients has seen a rise in serious buyers opting to view properties. Buyers are doing lots of viewings online before shortlisting their favourites to view in person, which is resulting in more serious potential buyers physically walking through properties they may be interested in.