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A new homecoming: Building and buying trends in 2021

Over the past year, America has experienced dramatic shifts in lifestyle—sheltering at home, working and studying remotely, family members moving in or back, and celebrating holidays virtually, to name just a few. But people also came out in search of a new shelter. Homebuying soared with a new homecoming, Now, in a new year, Kettler Forlines Homes is looking at building and buying trends in 2021.

A recent article in Builder Magazine reported, “today’s homes need form and function to serve the entire family. While more space, ‘Zoom rooms,’ and outdoor access are a few of the headline impacts of 2020, builders also say there’s been a fundamental shift in what home means to American buyers.”

“I think 2020 taught an important lesson: be kinder to yourself,” said George Neill, Community Sales Manager for Kettler Forlines Homes. George is our guy on the front lines, helping homebuyers. “We’ve seen a large uptick in the number of homebuyers as well as what they’re looking for: more space, comforts, and safety.”

In search of space 

You might be one of many people who took their home for granted—that is, until you had to spend a majority of your days and evenings hunkered down there. You soon learned that it was more cramped than you ever realized. Where could you find a quiet place to yourself? Where could you store all the stuff you’ve stockpiled? 

The Builder Magazine article cited the trend for larger homes. “Space is again one of the leading drivers of home design. The downsizing trend from the 2010s has now swung back as people spread out with their extended families under one roof.”

It’s not just the square footage homebuyers seem to be looking for, but how it’s designed. We’ve seen people clamor for features like a dedicated home office that feels like more than an afterthought or quick fix. They’re also missing their workouts at the gym, so a fitness studio is often on the homebuyer’s wish list, something we expect will continue for the foreseeable future.

Our estimating and purchasing specialist, Dan Fraker, said homebuyers have been particularly interested in having a more user-friendly kitchen. 

“People do love their gadgets,” Dan mused. Yes, that spiralizer seemed like such a must-have at the time, right? 

As a result, we’ve designed kitchens with features like an appliance garage on the countertops. Many of our homes already feature a butler’s pantry (also known as a “service kitchen”) and walk-in pantry, both of which have plenty of easy access storage for the small appliances used once in a while.

The search for more space also impacts the homesites. When you’ve been feeling the squeeze at home and don’t have a yard large enough to enjoy outdoor living, it’s understandable that the next home should have more square footage, inside and out.

This is another area where we’ve been ahead of the demand. Our community of new homes in Poolesville, MD, The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing, was designed to give residents the larger yards, a half-acre and up.

In search of comfort 

What have you been wishing your home included? The open floor plan is a common answer. With sight lines that span the main living area—kitchen, great room, dining area—it’s much easier to keep conversations going, to entertain, and to keep an eye on the kids. The absence of walls also allows natural light to fill and brighten up the area.

The comfort of a fireplace is a feature that people have missed, too. From the classic beauty of a fireplace with a custom-crafted hearth and mantle to the sleek lines of a wall-mounted, horizontal fireplace, sitting in front of a crackling of a fire is the perfect place to get comfy. 

Next, let’s not forget one of the most important comfort corners of your home: the bathroom. Simple changes, like a private water closet and dual vanities, make it easier to share a bathroom. The addition of a larger walk-in shower and a separate soaking tub reflect the homebuying trend toward more spa-like bathrooms. Dan says he’s also getting more requests for fixtures like a rain showerhead.

In search of safety

We all took a laser-sharp look at the safety of our personal spaces. Social distancing caused us to spread out in public. Meanwhile, back at home, safety has meant both security and health. Homeowners want features like a smart home security system, which (not to brag but…) we were already providing. 

Indoor air quality has also moved to the forefront of priorities. When you’re spending so much time indoors, you need to be aware of the air you’re breathing. The airtight homes are great for conserving energy and eliminating drafts, but this advance also means less fresh air circulation. We pay close attention to the efficiency in every home we build, which includes enhanced air filtration. Kettler Forlines Homes won the EPA’s prestigious Indoor airPLUS Leader Award for the second time in 2020. 

Going a little farther

Where you work has played a big factor in where you live. While some people would endure a longer commute to live where they wanted, the shift to a remote workforce has expanded the search area for many homeowners. They no longer need to be dictated by the location of their workplace. They’re moving out of the cities and heading for suburbs, where they can have more space.

“Poolesville is an easy commute from downtown DC, so it’s always been a great location for commuters,” George explained. “Now, we’re seeing homebuyers who want the quiet, suburban Poolesville lifestyle, along with outstanding schools.”

Start your search here

Are you ready to join the homebuying trend? We’d love to help you find the perfect fit. Take a look at some of the homes in our gallery and wander through the virtual tour of each floor plan we offer. Most importantly, listen to what our homeowners say about the homes we build for them and the integrity and commitment we always put forth. Then make your move and reach out to George Neill.