Nearly two years ago, Addbuild published our guide to Renovating for Profit with tips from one of Sydney’s leading Real Estate Agents, valuable insights on what Sydney home buyers are looking for.
Whilst most of this advice still holds true, so much has happened since publication.
The pandemic has significantly changed the way we live in and use our homes.
With our world turned upside down, there’s no doubt our homes will now have to catch up: as well as doubling as offices and classrooms, they are also now more of a place of refuge and leisure than ever before.
This has implications for layout and inclusions, so it’s a good time to update and augment our advice to reflect these seismic events.
This has happened before. After the Spanish Flu of 1918 and other late 19th Century and early 20th Century pandemics, some of the home features we take for granted today were introduced in reaction to the threats posed.
As this fascinating article explains, white tiled surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms, powder rooms and “sleeping porches” were all responses to the medical emergencies of the age.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that a similar review of our home is underway and new patterns are emerging in response that change the way our homes are configured.
Shifts in Search
In NSW, there were significant percentage increases in searches for five home features, all around 40% higher for the Apr-Jun 2020 quarter compared to Jan-Mar 2020.
Room to Exercise
The top gain was for searches for ‘gym’ at 47%. With community sports paused and local gyms closed, people are looking at alternative ways to stay active and keep themselves fit, hence the interest in home gyms.
These services allow you to exercise in front of a screen and virtually race other people, go on a simulated journey through nature or a picturesque city, all the while being encouraged by onscreen trainers.
This has been increasingly marketed during lockdown and it’s therefore unsurprising that people are looking to buy homes that already come with a room for the related equipment.
Spaces to Unwind
After ‘gym’ there were three features that all had a 43% increase in searches: ‘balcony’, ‘garden’ and the generic term ‘outdoor’.
All three are closely related: people are now very aware that their home needs to be a place where they can relax and unwind.
That means having distinct spaces where they get away from the parts of the home which are now more associated with work or, even in the case of their lounge room, where they might be watching the news.
Work and Study
Coming closely behind these features were searches for ‘study’. This needs little explanation. Adults are working from home, and for our children home is now a classroom as well as a study.
Everyone needs distinct spaces away from the distraction of TVs, kitchens and laundries.
Real World vs Data
Whilst this data is now a year old, Addbuild has also been monitoring the features requested by homeowners looking to renovate.
As Sydney’s leading additions and extensions specialists, we work on around 80 projects per year, and receive enquiries beyond that from people who might either subsequently delay their project or choose another builder.
In short we experience a fair sized sample of Sydney homeowners, and the past year was busier than ever due to the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder scheme.
The trends noted in the realestate.com.au research have persisted.
We saw other nuances emerge, for example as well as a formal separate study (or two), we were often asked to design and build homes with larger bedrooms for the children with well-lit study nooks and desks.
Extra bathrooms were also in demand as people realised that they might need to quarantine a family member at some point and keeping them separated would be difficult without them.
And as our article on 2021 renovation trends noted, as well as COVID-19, other events like the recent floods and bushfires have also influenced how homeowners are planning their alterations in Sydney.
This affects everything from the building materials we use to the incorporation of development standards for designing and building on bush fire prone land.
Planning a Major Renovation?
If recent events mean that you are also considering home improvements, we’d love to hear from you.
As a ‘concept-to-completion‘ builder with over 40 years working solely in Sydney, Addbuild has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with you.