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From ‘Zoom Rooms’ to Chef kitchens: 7 top home trends for 2021 from US portal Zillow

2021 home trends are driven by COVID-era design and home features that will continue to grow in popularity even when the pandemic subsides.

We’ve all been there this year — toddlers interrupting Zoom meetings, day dreaming of more space, and shamelessly feeding sourdough starter kits.

2020 has changed the way we live in and outside our homes.

As people rethink their homes’ functionality, features we never knew we needed — such as a home gym or no-touch appliances — are more important than ever.

Driven by the COVID era, Zillow shared their top US home trends for 2021 that have potential to become ‘the new norm’ and trend in Australia.

‘Zoom rooms’
Zillow survey found a desire for a home with a dedicated office tops the list of reasons why Americans working from home say they would consider a move, if they were to continue working remotely at least occasionally.

In 2021, employees will receive more clarity from employers about the ability to telecommute moving forward, which could trigger a move to a home with more space – and a more permanent solution for their at-home desk.

As of November, the number of US listings mentioning “home office” or “Zoom room” increased by 48.5 per cent compared to the same time last year. 

Gourmet kitchens
Led by sourdough, this year inspired people to break out of their old baking habits and start new hobbies in the kitchen.

A previous Zillow survey found 41 per cent of people value a well-equipped kitchen more than before as a result of social distancing recommendations.

“We’ve seen an increase in requests for gourmet kitchens,” says Katie Detwiler, Berks Homes’ Chief Experience Officer.

“This includes bigger cabinets and island additions so homeowners have the space they need to cook their gourmet meals.”

Backyard oasis and Homecation amenities
Zillow research shows home buyers paid more for amenities that make their home feel like a retreat.

“Pool” was the top Zillow keyword search term in 2020, while “waterfront” and “dock” also landed in the top 10, and listings that mentioned a free-standing tub typically sold for 5.5 per cent more than expected.

A yard that is safe and functional has taken on renewed importance — a Zillow survey from the Harris Poll found that 41 per cent of people say they value a large outdoor space more as a result of social distancing recommendations.

Zillow research also found US homes mentioning  “outdoor kitchen” sold for 4.5 per cent more.

Smart and safe tech

Smart home technology is becoming increasingly appealing to buyers.Zillow analysis found that listings mentioning a smart light in their listing description sold seven days faster than expected.

Features like a shiny, new touchless faucet will rise in popularity as homeowners prioritise the cleanliness of their home to keep their families safe.

It’s more vital than ever that our homes stay as germ-free as possible. While and smart-home technology products like touchless appliances, self-cleaning toilets and bidets might sound niche right now, they may evolve to become the standard in home design.

Kerrie Kelly, Zillow home design expert and founder of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab said: “Features like voice-activated faucets, robotic vacuums, and electronic-assistant controlled lights have updated the traditional tasks of cooking and cleaning by incorporating thoughtful innovation into home products”.

Small City Living
Increased opportunity for remote work has pushed many home hunters to reconsider how and where they want to live.

Since there is less need to be close to urban job centres, shoppers in 2021 may opt for wide open spaces and smaller, more affordable communities. This trend is already playing out in search traffic data.

Newly pending sales for small cities (population between 54,000 and 137,000) is up 34.3 per cent since last year, and have seen positive year-over-year pending sales since July.

Small city living will only continue to rise as telework becomes more permanent and opens up home ownership opportunities for renters.

Health and wellness at home
People across the globe quickly adapted to rapidly changing restrictions, creating home gyms or mental wellness spaces in their homes.

But it’s not just physical health homeowners are prioritising. Isolation from social activities and loved ones increases the need for more-private “feng shui” areas — spaces for reflection and meditation to stay mentally fit as well.

Pet-friendly living
The flexibility of remote work gave many people the opportunity to be home all day in 2020, making it easier to add a new best friend to their family. 

According to a Nielsen survey, 20 per cent of respondents in July said they adopted one or more dogs or cats between March and June, up from less than 5 per cent over the same time last year.

An increase in furry friends joining families means “pet-friendly” rentals are on the rise in the US, as landlords entice renters with added benefits. Zillow research found that 73.1 per cent of rental listings allow pets!

As people welcome more furry family members, Zillow expects they will be looking for pet-friendly features in their next home.

As Australia slowly loosens the grip of COVID-19, and with a vaccine on the way, only time will tell how many of these US trends and COVID-19 led stats will land on our shores in 2021.

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