After almost two years of making “home” our workplace, school, entertainment venue, fitness center, church, and anything else you can think of, Americans have decided that their home is much more than a building, it’s an integral part of their lives. And they are putting even more demands on their homes to ensure that health and wellness is at the forefront.
Many large national homebuilders have recognized this trend and are offering many health and wellness products as standard features in their new homes. Buyers are responding by purchasing these new homes at a rapid pace and paying premiums to get these “wellness-designed homes.”
As part of this focus on “health and wellness” buyers are also looking for homes that have maximum indoor air quality. And that leads many buyers to make the decision to purchase an all-electric home that features solar panels, smooth top or induction cooktops, energy-efficient heat pumps, heat pump water heaters and clothes dryers, and energy storage battery systems.
By switching the heating, cooling, water heating, laundry, and cooking appliances to all-electric power sources, homeowners are eliminating carbon emissions from their home. Electrification also reduces the demand for fossil fuel energy sources like natural gas, heating oil, and propane. This helps to reduce the homes’ environmental impact, which is good for the planet, and good for the owners’ health.
Taylor Morrison, one of the top ten largest homebuilders in the U.S., decided to make whole-home air filtration and water filtration standard in all its homes. The company launched its LiveWell™ initiative in response to pandemic news coverage about air circulation, but also in response to strong interest in-home health and wellness among homebuyers that it surveyed. Of the 2,000 respondents, the younger generation—40% of millennials and 35% of Gen X buyers—was particularly interested in these aspects of a new home.
Shea Homes noticed an increased interest in wellness features too. Special packages like Shea Homes’ Pure Living™ upgrades with handsfree faucets and air and water quality monitoring have helped spur new home sales.
Recently, Amanda Pendleton, a Zillow home trends expert, the pandemic has been a driving force in wellness design’s popularity. “It’s no surprise that many wellness features were associated with homes selling faster than expected and for more money than expected.”
Zillow looked at more than 220 features and 1.4 million home sales in 2020 and found these wellness features helped boost prices:
- Steam ovens delivered a 4.9% sale premium.
- Hot tubs, inground spas and Jacuzzis generated a 1.7% sale premium.
- Zen gardens offered a 1.5% sale premium
- Smart/touchless toilets created a 1.0% sale premium.
The most desirable wellness standard features are indoor air quality, water filtration, and quality lighting. As Gina Nixon, Executive VP of Thomas James Homes recently stated in ProBuilder Magazine, “It is all about clean air, clean water and lighting. Air quality is the minimum standard,” she notes.
TriPointe Homes, a leading national builder, is including indoor air quality-enhancing features like home products with low to no-VOC paints, adhesive or sealants in its standard offerings, they’re also using MERV 8 or higher air filters to reduce airborne contaminants. In California, TriPointe installs MERV 13 filters to meet Title 24 Building Codes.
Home builder wellness upgrade packages include central vacuum systems, humidity sensing bathroom fans and whole house water filtration. Voice and remote-control features are also growing areas of interest for buyers looking to manage their home systems on their smart phones.
Builders are also offering more floorplans with flex spaces, as different households have different and changing needs over time. The National Kitchen & Bath Association recently reported that “top-of-mind design changes from COVID include creating flexible spaces in the home for work and/or school, better storage solutions and easy-to-clean surfaces.” Most homeowners are looking for low maintenance spaces, both indoors and out.
Outdoor spaces are in high demand, and buyers expect builders to provide patios, decks, and other outdoor living spaces to enjoy time outdoors.
As homebuyers continue to expect health and wellness to be an integral part of their homes, builders will need to be aware of the benefits of building all-electric homes that provide the maximum in energy efficiency and indoor air-quality, as well as the variety of health-focused products their buyers are looking for to ensure they have the healthiest home possible.