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  • Interior Alaska Building Association


2020 changed the landscape of life in a lot of ways. Most Americans spent more time at home than ever before. This prompted people to look at their homes a little differently, in both good ways and bad. This year’s pandemic affected people in many ways including having a major impact on housing trends.

SAYING GOODBYE TO BIG CITIES COVID-19 quickly made many Americans realize the limitations of urban life. Cities with high population densities, like New York, saw more cases and restrictions. Suddenly, people who swore they’d never leave the city, began pondering about what life would look like elsewhere. The glamor of bustling big city life was replaced by the prospect of a quiet home in a smaller community. States with lower population densities saw an uptick in people moving in. While others, are choosing to move from the heart of their city to somewhere nearby in the suburbs with more land.

ACCESS TO THE OUTDOORS Alaskans already know the importance of access to outdoor recreation, 2020 was just the year everyone else caught on. Without the availability of gyms, restaurants and movie theaters, people needed somewhere to go. City parks, walking trails and greenbelts became busier than ever. The outdoors let people exercise, relax and socialize, safely. Getting out broke up the monotony of being home and in turn, people began prioritizing having these areas close to home. People are now looking for homes with easy access to trail systems and greenbelts. This is one housing trend that is probably here to stay.

ROOM FOR TOYS Once again, Alaska is ahead of the trend and everybody else is just playing catch up. With severe air and travel restrictions in place, a lot of people swapped out their destination vacations for road trips. RV and camper sales and rentals spiked during the pandemic. Some dealers reported seeing a 1,000% increase in sales. Many people hit the road and rediscovered the joy of road tripping. But for some, problems arise when they pull into their driveway after the trip. Where do they park their new toy? Builders and contractors are seeing a surge in requests for additional parking space for campers and RVs. This is a solution many builders will be working into future design plans.

HOME GYMS, OFFICES AND SCHOOL The pandemic probably permanently altered home design. People aren’t necessarily shopping for more square footage, instead they’re looking for space that will work as offices, classrooms and home gyms. COVID-19 sent kids and parents home but the work didn’t stop. Homeowners soon realized having a dedicated and private space to allow for work and/or schooling improves efficiency. They also needed a space to exercise. Retailers selling gym equipment couldn’t keep up with the demands as people traded their gym memberships for the convenience of personal equipment.

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