Virtually overnight, COVID-19 has transformed the way people use their homes. What was once for many, simply a place to sleep and eat has now become the epicentre of their entire life. And even when lockdowns and restrictions pass or ease, few will forget how they used their homes during the pandemic. The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported Aussies are spending a record billion dollars a month on renovations, while Stockland claims 80% of people are now aware of how much their living situation affects their wellbeing. Shortcomings with our homes that we might have previously overlooked have now become daily annoyances, and this is something that buyers won’t be willing to tolerate when they pick their next home.
Design for the Future
Buyers are now looking for homes that can adapt to increased demands. Developers need to create versatile homes that are more than just a place to sleep, especially considering many people are exchanging city apartment living for greater space outside the city. As an interior architect and designer, I see several areas where developers can entice buyers through clever design and features.
Anyone who’s had to home-school on the kitchen table or take a Zoom call in the bedroom knows it’s incredibly frustrating. People want practical solutions, so developers need to consider how to make living spaces more versatile. Consider designing a work annex off the side of the living room or incorporating a cloffice (office space built into an existing area) into closets, under stairs or in a hallway. By doing this, homeowners don’t need to spend their daily life to accommodate working or studying from home.
2-Biophilic design (sanity space)
Biophilic design is the concept of harmoniously connecting occupants to nature and the outside world by incorporating it into the built environment. Don’t underestimate the appeal of communal and recreational areas outside the home. People are looking for a connection to the outside world now more than ever! The standard of shared amenities has come a long way over the past few decades, but now it needs to be taken up a notch. By delivering usable balcony space, communal areas flooded with greenery, and quality exercise and playground amenities (both inside and out), you can stand out from the competition. These attributes are particularly valuable for people with young children or who don’t have private transport, especially during times of lockdown.
3-Antimicrobial surfaces and filtration systems
None of us will forget the smoke from the Black Summer bushfires, which caused a rush on air purifiers. Sydneysiders will remember having to boil tap water during the late 90s after the drinking water became contaminated with parasites. By incorporating filtration systems into your project, you can offer buyers added peace of mind and convenience. Other simple additions like antimicrobial benchtops, doorknobs, and flooring are also highly appealing in today’s climate. And don’t forget sustainable or renewable material alternatives, as many buyers are becoming much more concerned about their environmental footprint.
4-Natural light and ventilation
With complexes locked down over the past 18 months, home buyers are care of having access to fresh air. Proper ventilation has long underpinned building design during the world’s long history with pandemics, and today it’s again at the front of people’s minds. We’ve all seen the modelling of how Covid aerosols engulf a room. Buyers will see the ability to properly ventilate their home as a huge advantage. This will be essential especially for those who faced family members quarantining at home.
If nothing else, people need to store the vast amount of home gym equipment they’ve accrued over the past 18 months! But jokes aside, Australians spend over one billion dollars a year on storage units, according to IBISWorld, so it’s clear the average home doesn’t cut it when it comes to cupboard space. By offering clever built-in storage solutions you will appeal to buyers, not only because of the convenience they offer but also because you will remove the hassle and frustration of moving storage furniture such as wardrobes and cabinets in and out of the home (only to find much of it doesn’t fit the space or layout properly).
By designing a property for the right buyers and tailored to suit the changing market demands, you can ensure your project is not only highly coveted by buyers, but also sets the standard for the residential construction sector.