What buyers want in new construction homes gradually changes over the years and builders often shift their focus to accommodate the changes. The pandemic, however, has rapidly changed what people want and builders are stepping up to the plate in record speed.
1. Swimming Pool: As Americans are forced into the longest staycation of their lives, the demand for swimming pools has skyrocketed. Pool contractors are booked through the season and new construction homes with pools are selling fast. While warmer climates, like Arizona and California, may be used to such demand, states like Minnesota and New Jersey, where pools can only be used for a few short months, have seen the increase as well. Saunas and hot tubs are also extremely popular add-ons.
2. Package Drop Off Area: Homebuyers have always appreciated a grand entrance, but now they are looking for new construction homes that have a private, enclosed porch area instead. They need a space where packages and food can be dropped off safely and away from the prying eyes of porch pirates.
3. Large Outdoor Space: American tastes over the last few decades has been to build larger homes on smaller lots. The pandemic has turned that tradition on its ear as people are requesting larger lots. If they are forced to stay at home to protect themselves, they want a large outdoor space for exercise and entertainment.
4. Oversize Pantry: While most new construction homes have some sort of pantry in the kitchen, the pandemic -- and toilet paper shortages -- has encouraged builders to add larger pantries for stockpiling supplies. This space has only half-jokingly been referred to as "an Amazon room" by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
5. Private Spaces: Open floor plans originated in the 1950s because Baby Boomers did not want closed-off rooms like the generation before. They wanted an open space where the rooms flowed together. The pandemic has surprisingly changed this decades-long tradition. New construction homes are already being built with rooms that can close off from each other because buyers need a way to be able to self-quarantine away from other family members.
6. Pocket Office: While home offices have long been requested in new home construction, a pocket office is a new twist due to the pandemic. A pocket office is a small space the size of a walk-in closet where family members can attend online meetings or classes in privacy.
New construction homes have always been full of "must-haves", but the pandemic has shifted the focus for both builders and buyers.