5 Ways the Pandemic Influenced Homebuyer Preferences

  • Categories:

    Industry Trends, Marketing Insights

  • Date:

    December 10, 2020

5 Ways the Pandemic Influenced Homebuyer Preferences



Industry Trends
Marketing Insights

Welcome to real estate in a market changed by COVID-19: where consumers can live where they want to live and work where they live. Where cosmopolitans are trading their high-rise views for landscape hues. Where existing inventory is so tight, competing offers and overbidding on single-family homes aren’t the exception; they’re the norm. Where home features that were once seen as extraneous or even superfluous are now considered fundamental.

In a world transformed by an unprecedented pandemic, homebuyers no longer simply hope for certain elements. They expect them. The brands best primed to deliver will win the day — and beyond.

1. Homebuyers are heading for the hills.

    In some cases, literally. From the foothills to the mountains, and from the plains to the valleys, homebuyers are flocking from cities to less densely populated areas including outer suburbs and even rural areas. Here, they’re finding reasonably priced homes with lawns, gardens and elbow room to spare.

    But why the mass exodus from cities?

    For one thing, the COVID-19 pandemic left many parents juggling remote jobs and their children’s virtual learning. For city dwellers, confined spaces made this situation even more difficult.

    The widespread, growing acceptance of remote work, born out of a temporary necessity, has also eliminated a primary driver of urban living for millions of people.

    Meanwhile, all of that time at home and the stress of uncertainty about the future has created a greater desire for ample space and a stronger connection with nature (think land as well as terraces, balconies and gardens).

    2. Wellness is thriving.

      Perhaps more than ever, people want their homes to serve as a sanctuary and a safe space. This, in turn, is influencing how they approach their well-being. Think:

      Can your brand’s products help create that blended sense of security and contentment? Can you shift your marketing to highlight features that make it possible?

      3. But connectivity is king.

        We may be spending more time outdoors, yet we’re more connected than ever. Project managers are shepherding work to successful completion just as their school-aged children deliver Zoom book reports in the next room. In the wake of the pandemic, millions of people are working and learning from home, and many employees may do so indefinitely. This transition demands increased bandwidth, network and connectivity technologies. And that pre-wired home selling point, once a nice-to-have, is now the expectation.

        4. Sustainability matters.

          Simply put, the desire for resiliency and self-sufficiency has never been stronger. Think on-site power production (solar plus storage) and food production (outdoor gardens and living walls). Energy efficiency, performance and comfort are also fundamental elements of desirable homes, while water monitoring and leak-detection products are moving squarely into consumers’ consciousness.

          5. Dated is the new black.

            Limited inventory has shifted consumer priorities — and expectations. Yes, most buyers want move-in-ready homes, but they’re also not shying away from real estate listings that need improvements. And to remain relevant, home and building product manufacturers must rise to the challenge.

            How can your brand appeal to the DIYers and the do-it-for-mes? Can your storytelling help buyers envision a home’s potential or dare them to dream about the possibilities? Can your sales model, products and customer service make the journey from dream to reality a painless one?

            What’s next?

            How might the world look one year from today? Only time will tell for sure. But one thing’s certain: The housing market will remain strong well into 2021, creating a clear opportunity for home and building product manufacturers. How can your brand best reach consumers intent on growing the value of their personal assets while shaping ideal spaces for their families to live, work and play?

            Need help unlocking and actualizing the possibilities? Email me.

            This post includes information shared during the recent Green Builder Media webinar, The (Rapidly) Evolving Definition of Healthy Home and What Consumers Crave Most, featuring Green Builder Media CEO Sara Gutterman.


            Explore more articles from Wray Ward.