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Pandemic Boosted Interest in Outdoor Living 65%

What will you find as new listings come into the market? Privacy and group spaces were a general priority, with an uptick in demand for nicer seating and fireplaces.

NEW YORK – More homeowners and house hunters want to maximize outdoor space while sheltering at home, and the National Kitchen & Bath Association reports a 65% uptick in membership interest for outdoor living projects this year.

What improvements top the list? NKBA, John Burns Real Estate Consulting and Houzz surveyed design professionals and home builders to identify some of the top outdoor trends:

  • Year-round gathering spots. NKBA professionals report that the most requested features for enhanced outdoor living spaces are upgraded seating, fireplaces and fire pits.

    “COVID-19 may be encouraging homeowners to get more year-round usage from their outdoor living areas,” NKBA’s report notes. Millennials were particularly drawn to outdoor spaces that integrated more entertainment and gathering spots.
  • Privacy. John Burns Real Estate Consulting notes that homeowners crave more privacy in their backyards, using their outdoor spaces more for meditation, exercise, rest and recuperation.

    “The more private the spaces, the more desirable they are for homebuyers,” the study notes. Builders are adopting this trend in high-density areas by sheltering side yards, careful window placement and offering covered patios. Home remodeling site Houzz also finds pergolas gaining popularity. Pergolas are relatively affordable and can be installed quickly to provide shade for dining, lounging and other outdoor activities.
  • Backyard cottages. Houzz has noticed an uptick in demand for backyard cottages, also known as “granny flats” or accessory dwelling units. Some of these backyard units are constructed onsite, while others are hauled in already constructed.

    The backyard spaces are used to house older relatives who returned from an assisted living facility, adult children who need a temporary home, tenants for additional income or home offices. The spaces could also be used as study areas, a spare bedroom or a home gym.
  • Outdoor connections. Remote workers often seek more of an outdoor connection than they had before moving, John Burns Consulting notes. The company’s research found that homeowners’ favorite spot to work from home is at the back of the house – an area with direct access to the yard and patio.

Source: “Seven Outdoor Living Trends for 2021,” Forbes.com (Jan. 31, 2021)

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