The suburbs are having a moment with homebuyers – and it’s a particularly hot one.
As homebuyers’ desires and needs have shifted in the coronavirus age, the appeal of the suburbs has accelerated. Drawn to suburban communities where they can often get more home, more bang for their buck, and more freedom of movement, a growing number of homebuyers are opting for the suburbs as opposed to high-density urban areas.
Swelling interest in the suburbs is particularly notable in new construction and with single-family homes, where sales have jumped more than 25 percent over 2019, according to industry data. Prospective buyers are especially savoring the idea of a never-before-lived-in home as well as one built with energy efficiency and health in mind. At Gallagher and Henry, buyers not only receive those enticing benefits, but can also work with the award-winning homebuilder to redefine spaces according to their needs.
“More and more, we’re seeing people move towards new construction in our suburban communities because of the space, value, and home they can get,” says John Gallagher, whose firm is currently building homes in eight southwest suburban communities.
Shifting Priorities and Needs
As the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced people to spend more time at their existing residences, including blending work and home life under one roof, many are seeing that what once seemed tidy and efficient is no longer so.
Buyers are expressing heightened interest in larger homes that include substantial outdoor space, finished basements, and, not surprisingly, home offices and other private rooms where residents can work or otherwise take a meeting. According to a Realtor.com June survey, a home office was the most in-demand new home feature desired by homebuyers and some have even professed a need for two such areas in their next home.
Because of COVID, homebuyers’ wish lists look a bit different than they did at the start of 2020. The home office, in particular, has become a must and something we accommodate in our plans with dedicated home offices and flex rooms as well as dining rooms that we can neatly convert into private workspaces.
Gallagher and Henry’s 2,823-square foot Eden floor plan, for instance, features a large study, a formal dining room, four upstairs bedrooms, and a full basement, a collection of varied spaces that give homeowners ample flexibility to accommodate household needs for daily living, work, and play.
Ditching High Density
With an increase in remote work, many homebuyers have also been untethered from their daily commutes into downtown offices or other commercial destinations. This has heightened the willingness of buyers to push out further from the urban core – or to at least tie their home location to their workplace so tightly – and accelerated interest in suburban living.
According to a recent study by Realtor.com, three out of five homebuyers reported that working at home was influencing the kind of home they desired and the location.
“The ability to work remotely is expanding home shoppers’ geographic options and driving their motivation to buy,” Realtor.com senior economist George Ratiu said in the recent report.
Prospective buyers have also been wooed to the suburbs by the idea of freedom of movement – or, in colloquial terms, more elbow room – in as well as outside of the home. Buyers remain intrigued by the idea of larger yard space as well as more accessible outdoor recreation opportunities.
In Gallagher and Henry’s suburban communities, residents can convert backyards into multi-functional outdoor oases for work, play, dining, and more, while they can also more easily take neighborhood walks and bike rides without needing to dodge a stream of pedestrians or constantly fret over social distancing protocols. In addition, all eight of Gallagher and Henry’s community locations sit nearby various forest preserve sites in Cook, DuPage, and Will Counties.
There’s little doubt that the coronavirus has compelled people to look at their home situation differently and reconsider their priorities, wants, and needs, and that’s put a bright spotlight on new construction in suburban communities like the ones Gallagher and Henry builds in.