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Sector outlook: The demand for greater space

The Coronavirus pandemic has reshaped what many people want from their homes, with a trend for more space, inside and out.

Increased homeworking is changing how people view their homes. A recent survey by property group, Savills, reports that nearly half (49%) expect homeworking to continue after the lockdown. 4 in 10 (40%) of people under 50 now want to upsize to a bigger home, with private outside space also in demand.

Along with size, the flexibility of space is also important, especially being able to have an integrated working area or the room for a home office.

The Architects’ Journal looks at the impact of the pandemic on future approaches to housebuilding. Incorporating purpose-built home working spaces, with access to good-quality natural light and soundproofing between walls (and traffic) were seen as new fundamentals. The Journal also explores housing design more widely, including emerging community needs.

Other survey findings

As well as having a private garden, balcony or terrace, convenient access to open green spaces and the countryside were seen as important. The survey reports that 71% of younger buyers crave more outdoor space and rural locations. Well-connected village locations are set to command a premium, with 1 in 6 people in the survey happy to have a longer commute than ever before.

In contrast, downsizing was popular among older respondents, reflecting an increased commitment to financially supporting the younger generation.

New housebuilding approaches

Drawing parallels with radical housing developments following the First World War, such as the introduction of garden cities, The Architects’ Journal considers tomorrow’s design considerations. These include:

  • incorporating commercial spaces into residential buildings or locating these nearby
  • the need for greater local social infrastructure, including shops and food and beverage offerings
  • an ever greater focus on energy efficiency and sustainability as people spend more time at home
  • the need for shared community spaces as people look closer to home to engage in social activities.
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