What kinds of homes will people want to live in post COVID-19?

I had a Mother’s Day chat with my daughter and we talked about how people may change the way they think about homes when this pandemic is over.

For one thing, if you don’t have to do it, who would want to send their parents to a long-term care centre now? I  expect to see an increase in multi-generational homes being built or current homes being adapted to have in-law suites. Duplexes, which have never been super popular common may become very popular now so that families can share space without climbing all over each other. Maybe even triplexes!

We both felt that people are probably spending a lot of time right now in isolation thinking about who they want to live with and how they want to live in the future

I live next door to a family that has small children but moved into one of those three storey semi-detached units in Westboro that has no yard. Their children are playing in the driveway. I’m sure they are re-thinking their choices now too.

I imagine that when this is all over we will see a number of people splitting up and a higher number of divorces, but also a higher number of pregnancies. Personally, I expect to see a return to homes with yards.

Not just for families who have children, but because people are rediscovering the pleasure of gardening. Of growing living things including vegetables in your own backyard. Of having something to do. It’s all of a piece with bread-making and rediscovering crafts and jigsaw puzzles, playing cards.

The dining room, which had all but disappeared from open concept homes, may make a comeback as families rediscover the value of eating together. Will we see bigger kitchens given the resurgence of people discovering they like cooking and baking?

I suspect many people will be changing the homes they live in for other homes. In my case, for example, I am determined that my next home will have a view, be it of water or woods. If I am going to be stuck at home, I want to see wildlife and nature and be able to go for a kayak paddle or walk on a forested trail. I want to look out the window and see something beautiful. I no longer have any interest in down-sizing though: I see the value in space.

Those that decide to stay where they are may choose to renovate. After all, if you are confined to your home, you will want to find the experience as pleasant as possible.

On the practical side, I know I would want to have a kitchen with a huge pantry — I’ve taken over a corner of the kitchen floor for paper towels and cleaning supplies. But I can imagine  people who can afford it who would be looking at home theatres and games rooms. Maybe pools, which used to be seen as a negative by a lot of buyers, will now become assets.

I miss boxing almost more than anything else I normally do. My next home will have a heavy bag and a speed bag. My daughter would like to live somewhere that has a pool table. I suspect we’ll see more home offices, now that so many people are working remotely,  and exercise rooms, so they can work out at home too.

Another thing that I can see changing is the public demanding green space over development. Parks, pedestrian-only areas, more cycling paths, road closures, more gardens, more community gardens.

I’m not sure that high-rise condos will be as easy to sell: re-circulated air and shared elevators may scare some people off. And the first thing to close in those buildings were the pools and fitness rooms. Will people move into the cities or out to the suburbs? I expect to see the latter. In fact, I expect to see a surge in the sale of year-round cottages and new build homes on golf courses, where these kinds of things can be custom built into homes.

So what are your thoughts on this? When this is over, will you stay where you are or will you move? What things will be on your wish-list this time around that weren’t on your wish-list before or that weren’t important to you then and are now? What choices would you make to improve your home if you had to go through quarantine again?


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