CallisonRTKL report: Post-Covid housing demands

CallisonRTKL announces results of its research report: Post-Covid Housing Demands, which looks at how domestic spaces are changing.

Corkfield Build to Rent scheme in Edgbaston. CallisonRTKL lead the design and delivery work of the scheme | BTR News
Corkfield Build to Rent scheme in Edgbaston. CallisonRTKL lead the design and delivery work, which is being carried out by PATRIZIA and construction partners Winvic. The design team adapted plans to include more outdoor space and enhanced amenity space – aligned to shifting work and lifestyle trends since the pandemic.

Since the pandemic, what people want from their domestic spaces has changed considerably with more fresh food deliveries, higher numbers of pet owners and exercising at home increasing. The results are revealed in a new report by global architecture firm – CallisonRTKL – which surveyed 920 apartment dwellers in London and Manchester about the way they use their homes and their motivations for choosing a home. Out of those surveyed who all lived in an apartment or flat, 67% were renting in Build to Rent schemes.

Pre-pandemic, 21% of respondents report being happy with access to a shared garden, while 61% of respondents say they now demand private outside space, especially those households with three or more people. While working from home in lockdowns was the norm, as offices began to reopen, 84% of respondents were still working from home for three to five days per week, up from 10%. Most people were using their living rooms (37%) to carry out home working, followed by the main bedroom and spare bedroom at 21% and 12% respectively. And 82% were juggling working from home with home schooling.

According to CallisonRTKL’s survey results, more people began exercising indoors, with those who worked out once a week or more in their homes increasing by 4%, while those using a gym decreased by 7%. Weights (46%), yoga mats (44%) and exercise bikes (30%) where the most common home equipment used, with a third of those surveyed saying they had purchased their exercise equipment in the last 12 months.

CallisonRTKL also report that the number of online shopping deliveries rose from 58% to 64% over the last year, with 59% of those surveyed opting to receive fresh food and home cooking boxes, showing more people were taking a greater interest in their health. Pets also became popular, with 55% owning a pet and 61% of those saying they were allowed to keep an animal in their building.

“There’s been notable changes in people’s habits, with more activities taking place inside the home. Even now, as ‘normal life’ is resuming, these changes remain. It will be interesting to see if this shift informs a more permanent change in our relationship with our homes, and what we now expect from them; understanding this will help to inform future home designs.

“Following the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic in New York, The Sunshine Movement had a strong influence on modernist design. Now we could say we have the Post-Covid Movement, with such a change to lifestyle brought about by the pandemic, we will almost certainly see a strong influence on domestic spaces, reflecting the wider change in social attitudes triggered by the pandemic.

“Although it is difficult for us to predict changes in the longer term, changes in people’s behaviour and attitudes now give us indicators towards more permanent changes in the future design of housing, with residents looking for larger floorplates and more private outside space.”

Rachel Bruce, Associate CRTKL

For those who did decide to move, space was a big driver. Having extra rooms, extra space for home working and outdoor space were the reason most people surveyed had moved in the last 12 months, influenced by changes in their lifestyle bought on by the pandemic.

“It was clear from our research that the large number of people who moved due to the pandemic did so to suit their changing lifestyle that outgrew their current space. These findings will inform our future designs of the residential sector, and help us ensure that residents have the appropriate space to carry out increasingly varied activities in their homes. Provisions of considered adaptable designs allow us to deliver more future-proofed homes that make buildings more resilient to future lifestyle trends.”

Tayra Pinto, Senior Architect, CRTKL

CallisonRTKL hope to repeat the research in two years’ time to see if any changes are reversing or will be more permanent.