Conventional wisdom says that home sales should have plummeted this summer due to the coronavirus crisis. Sales are off in some places, but the one part of the market that has seemingly been unaffected is the luxury home sector. According to the Albany (NY) Times-Union, luxury home builders have been as busy as ever over the last several months.
Industry experts interviewed by the Times Union say that the coronavirus crisis has actually been a boon for luxury home builders. Those who can afford luxury homes – especially those for whom a new home is a second home – want homes designed to facilitate spending more time in them.
In simple terms, most of us have acquiesced to the idea of spending more time at home for the foreseeable future. To people who buy or build second homes as investments, renting doesn’t seem so appealing anymore. They want homes they can use any time they want. They are building or buying accordingly.
Size Doesn’t Matter As Much
Luxury homes have traditionally been classified by price, explains CityHome Collective. The Salt Lake City real estate broker and interior design firm says a property has to be priced at $1 million or more to be considered a luxury home. As for square footage, that is apparently less important these days. Layout, furnishings, and amenities trump space.
The Times Union’s Claire Bryan says one of the things luxury home builders are doing more frequently is embracing wide open floor plans, especially on the first floor. Open floor plans tend to make houses feel bigger than they really are. You get the perception of more space by not cutting up the floor plan with lots of walls and hallways.
Home buyers are apparently in agreement. Open floor plans are as popular as they have ever been. They represent an opportunity for buyers to get homes that feel big without spending money on extra square footage they do not need.
Hand-in-hand with open floor plans are high ceilings. Why? Because they also add to the perception of space. An average size family room with an 8-foot ceiling feels small and closed as compared to a comparably sized family room with a vaulted ceiling that goes to the top of the roof line.
Outdoor Spaces Are Important
Today’s luxury home buyers are also paying more attention to outdoor spaces. Coronavirus is keeping them at home more often, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to spend all of their time indoors. They want to be outdoors, enjoying large yards, swimming pools, and custom-designed patios.
Outdoor space has always been a consideration for luxury homes in rural areas. Not so much in the suburbs. The fact that more suburban buyers want larger yards further suggests larger lots and more creative footprints.
Maximizing Usable Space
There are other trends that luxury home buyers are pursuing in the coronavirus era, but when you take them all together you notice one undeniable fact: maximizing usable space seems to be the goal. For example, it is nice to have a formal dining room for entertaining guests. But if it never gets used, it ends up being a museum display more than anything else.
Modern luxury homes are being defined by the amount of usable space and how it is actually used. What used to be the den is now a home theater. What used to be a formal dining room is now a wide open space adjacent to the kitchen capable of accommodating everything from family meals to small parties. It all makes sense if you are staying home more often.