Zillow: Homes Will Look Different After Coronavirus

As people spend more time at home during the pandemic, buyers are realizing which features work well under the circumstances and which do not, said Zillow, Seattle.

Many homeowners are reconsidering their home’s functionality as formerly popular design features have become less workable. Now, many home builders think demands for more privacy and more space will drive future building decisions, Zillow said.

“Home builders predict open-concept floor plans will be a thing of the past, as people now value more walls, doors and overall privacy,” Zillow said.

Open-concept living has become popular as home-improvement TV shows pitched it as a must-have feature of any house. Previous Zillow research found the share of for-sale listings mentioning “open concept layouts” more than doubled since 2015. Open-concept floor plans remove doors and walls in favor of combined spaces, offering families a greater sense of togetherness.

But with those open spaces comes a lack of privacy, and many people forced to spend more time at home realized there were not enough quiet spaces to work from home. A recent Zillow/The Harris Poll survey found 27 percent of people said they would consider moving to have a home with more rooms–one of the top reasons for considering a move–after spending more time at home because of coronavirus orders.

“Open floor plans are changing,” said Katie Detwiler, Vice President of Marketing with Berks Homes, Mohnton, Pa. “People are feeling like they need more privacy, so we’ll see more doors, especially for home offices, more insulation for noise control and separate spaces to keep the kids busy while parents work.”

Detwiler said it’s a given that more people will work from home in the future. “There will need to be space and privacy to accommodate that,” she said.

Zillow Interior Design Specialist Kerrie Kelly said features such as barn doors could become more popular because they allow privacy while preserving an open-concept space, allowing rooms to serve multi-purposes for evolving activities.

In addition to physical room separation, Kelly predicted smart-home features like touchless faucets, bidets and self-cleaning toilets will become increasingly popular because the pandemic emphasized the importance of keeping spaces as clean as possible. “Touchless faucets and bidets are only the beginning,” she said. “Just wait until the floor tile takes your temperature and the bathroom mirror checks your vitals. Exciting new products are on the horizon when it comes to keeping a clean, safe and healthy home.”