Nobody really knows what 2021 will be like but here are a few ideas to ponder when it comes to housing. Will you still be working from home? Perhaps, in a new ‘statement’ office-the envy of your former office mates? Will you be adding some blue/green towels and dishes to your all white kitchen? Or change out your white quartz countertop with sparkles to a butcher block to make it more organic? The color palette of 2021 with blue/green or grey/lemon yellow looks considerably different than the all white kitchens of just two years ago as homeowners seek a natural and organic environment more like the ultimate retreat of a far away Hawaiian or Caribbean island.
When COVID-19 hit this past March, I had to borrow flour from a friend to make spicy banana bread because the shelves at Fred’s and Carrs were empty. Remember the toilet paper scare? Supply chains have gotten better so we may have plenty of flour and toilet paper but a lot has changed as we adjust our lifestyle to do more baking, walking, gardening, biking and even quilting! (No, that’s not me, at least not yet. I’m still obsessed with Fun Bridge on my iPhone.) And with all those lifestyle changes, come new demands in how we live in our home. We need more countertops for baking; a sewing room with lots of natural light; and a bigger garage for bikes and other recreational equipment.
According to the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), the pandemic has led to a 16% surge in multigenerational households. And it’s not just the grandparents who are moving in with their adult children but the millennial home from college or who has just been laid off from their tourism or hospitality job. And what do they want for their abode? Their own door and mini kitchen which makes me think of the old-fashioned duplex. Since when did the building community start making both units the same size? When we stopped building duplexes and turned them into townhouse style condos. Our city codes may once again need to be amended to meet the change in lifestyles of today’s buyers.
We can count on stability from the financial sector at least for the first three quarters of the year. After all, it has been the historic low interest rates that has kept our housing market afloat and helped stabilize our economy in general. So it’s a good time to buy a new home if you haven’t already done so. It’s also a good time to sell with only a l.15 month supply of inventory. This is particularly true if your home is past the 30 year mark of functional obsolescence. Anchorage’s appreciation ended the year at 5.85% and total volume of residential sales increased by 24%. However, the appreciation rate of 5.85% is about half the national average of 11.6%. Boise, Idaho, had a 20.6% appreciation rate while Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue had 18.7%. According to the AARP livability index, Anchorage ranks at only 55%. A city is not about tall shining buildings or even a convention center. It’s not just about parks or trails. After we all we have more of those than any city our size. No, it’s about our housing. Just ask any employer looking to bring up a new recruit and they will tell you the primary objection to making the move is over the lack of housing. The new bubble in home design treats the home as an ultimate retreat. It’s more organic to use a well-worn phrase. It’s got mixed metals on the inside as well as the exterior elevation. According to one designer, it’s about gray and yellow. Gray as dependable and yellow warming and optimistic. In 2021, your home is not your castle surrounded by a moat or inside a gate. Rather, it is to be a quiet place filled with hope for a happy and healthy future.
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