One area of the economy that’s been ticking along in spite of everything is the housing market. A measure of the confidence of companies that build new houses and condos hit a record high in August. The National Association of Home Builders index hit 78 this month after falling below 50 in April and May.
Record-low interest rates, below 3% for a 30-year mortgage, are fueling demand from buyers. The pandemic is also changing what people are looking for in a home, and builders are taking notice.
Better technology, flexible space and dedicated learning areas for kids are some of the things we’re likely to see more of in new homes. That’s according to a recent survey of builders from Meyers Research. Ali Wolf, chief economist there, says the most the popular design change is geared toward adults.
“Consumers are eager to be able to have some kind of quiet space or designated work space in their home,” Wolf said.
Some builders are also adding health-related features. Developer Taylor Morrison now includes air and water filtration systems, touchless faucets and bacteria-resistant paint in all of its new houses.
While demand for home gyms and classrooms may fade, Taylor Morrison CEO Sheryl Palmer says, “when you think about your health, we believe that this is a much more permanent need.”
Palmer also says the new features won’t raise the price of houses, because affordability is still the most important feature of all.