COVID-19

Indoor life is changing what people want in a home

Amy Scott Apr 28, 2020
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Stay-at-home restrictions are making people wish they had more room to move around. John Moore/Getty Images
COVID-19

Indoor life is changing what people want in a home

Amy Scott Apr 28, 2020
Stay-at-home restrictions are making people wish they had more room to move around. John Moore/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Andrew Manes shares a one-bedroom, 700-square-foot apartment with his wife and their pit-bull mix, Wilson. That was fine when they went out all the time. Now, the dog park is closed and most days both humans are working from home.

“The toughest thing has just been privacy,” he said.

A 28-year-old tech recruiter in Nashville, Tennessee, Manes has long thought of himself as a city person, but all this time at home during the pandemic has made him rethink his priorities. When their lease is up next year, he and his wife are thinking about trying to buy a place — and not just with more indoor space.

“Maybe some chickens and a big garden and a little bit of land,” he said. “Things that I thought were doomsday-prepping kind of mindset are now things that I’m like, ‘Well, that would be kind of nice.’ “

With most Americans under stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, many are reconsidering what they want in a home. Realtor.com surveyed 1,300 people about what they’d like to change about their living situation after spending time in quarantine. When asked what they’ll look for in their next home, about 16% said more indoor space, while 13.6% said, “More and better outdoor space.”

“Rounding out the top three were updated kitchens, not surprisingly, given that we are spending so much more time cooking at home,” said senior economist George Ratiu.

With millions of people out of work and the economy so uncertain, a lot of these upgrades may have to wait. Abbe Will researches the home remodeling market at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. While she expects an uptick in smaller, DIY projects, “the bulk of remodeling spending really is major home improvements,” she said. “We think homeowners are dreaming about doing those projects but are not likely to undertake them anytime soon.”

With plenty of time to dream about his next home, Lindsay Crosby, 35, a financial wellness consultant in Auburn, Alabama, knows what he doesn’t want. 

We’re beginning to rethink the open concept,” he said, referring to the popular floor plan featuring a kitchen that opens out to the dining and living areas. “We love our kids, but we’re not used to being around them every minute of every day.”

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

New COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. are on the rise. How are Americans reacting?

Johns Hopkins University reports the seven-day average of new cases hit 68,767 on Sunday  — a record — eclipsing the previous record hit in late July during the second, summer wave of infection. A funny thing is happening with consumers though: Even as COVID-19 cases rise, Americans don’t appear to be shying away from stepping indoors to shop or eat or exercise. Morning Consult asked consumers how comfortable they feel going out to eat, to the shopping mall or on a vacation. And their willingness has been rising. Surveys find consumers’ attitudes vary by age and income, and by political affiliation, said Chris Jackson, who heads up polling at Ipsos.

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

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