Outdoor living spaces have been a coveted home feature for several years. Since 2013, outdoor living has ranked No. 1 on the list of most popular special-function rooms, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey. Over the past year, the pandemic has spurred an even stronger demand for outdoor living areas, as people have moved their recreational activities and social gatherings into the open air and simply need a change from the same four walls.
Pandemic Driving Demand for Outdoor Living
A July 2020 survey from the National Association of Realtors® found that families with school-aged children are showing an increased desire for detached homes and larger yards.
Another Redfin survey from July 2020 revealed that 21% of homebuyers said the pandemic has caused them to want more outdoor recreational space.
An October 2020 analysis by Realtor.com found that single-family homes in the largest 100 metro areas sold 12 days faster when their listing included keywords such as garden, courtyard, deck, greenhouse, and backyard.
Most Sought-After Outdoor Features
Which outdoor amenities are dominating the landscape? Features such as screened porches and decks, sliding glass doors, firepits, and outdoor heating and lighting are popular as they help create a seamless connection between indoor and outdoor living.
Homeowners are also seeking functional landscaping and green spaces to provide privacy, promote sustainability, and enjoy outdoor hobbies. For example, plants offer a natural privacy screen for outdoor lounge areas, while garden beds and potted herbs allow people to grow their own food. Cut-flower gardens — designated areas for growing blooms for floral arrangements — are also gaining in popularity.
In addition, there’s been an uptick in demand for luxury features, such as in-ground swimming pools with open-air cabanas, high-end grills and outdoor prep sinks, and large lawns with space for recreational activities like bocce ball or playsets.
Will the demand for outdoor living spaces continue post-pandemic? No one can tell the future, but the fact that outdoor areas were already in demand before COVID-19 indicates that this isn’t just a temporary fad. If you’re thinking of selling, you can use this knowledge to your advantage by investing in landscaping and improving outdoor areas before listing your home, being sure to emphasize outdoor amenities in the listing photos and description. If you’re looking for a new home, consider the availability of outdoor space, which can be customized for future enjoyment and may enhance resale potential.
Sources: AIA Home Design Trends Survey, National Association of Realtors®, Redfin, WSJ, Realtor.com, Realtor® Magazine, Inman, Forbes