Over the last few decades, it was customary for homeowners to expand their living space by moving outdoors in the summer to enjoy cocktails and a meal with friends and family.
It involved taking a section of the property—located at the rear of the home, installing pavers, a wooden deck, or other types of platform, enabling guests to socialize but remain in proximity to the house.
A portable canapy might be erected—in the event of rain, matching all-weather chairs (with complementary cushions), a table, with a crank-out umbrella, and a shiny new propane grill would be expertly positioned for all to see.
When the time came to use the new patio, conscientious preparations were generously initiated, but shortfalls were evident; the effort needed to cart supplies, food, and liquor in and out of the house—over and over—would leave guests pleased, but the hosts exhausted.
For other households, the season was short; some tried fire pits to keep the party going, but without an enclosure, heat dissipates, and one by one, guests would venture inside.
Over time, the excitement and anticipation of spending hours outdoors soon tarnished, like the finishes on furnishings left uncovered and exposed to the elements the prior year. It wasn’t long before the new entertainment areas were being sent to the dump—never to be replaced.
Much has changed—for the better.
Over the last decade, the concept of an “outdoor room” has evolved into more substantial and useful spaces; they have also expanded on the idea of the functional outdoor kitchen into a luxury living space.
Today’s extension into the outdoors mimics the concept of a “great room,” but more opulent and useful. New outdoor living spaces include flat screen TV’s, sinks, appliances, wine coolers, dishwashers, storage, fireplaces, pizza ovens, mood lighting, heating elements, beer taps, enclosures, bathrooms, a bar, and of course—a heated pool.
Two factors are responsible for this recent transition; first, an exuberant economy, followed by a country-wide shut down of social venues and the need to shelter at home. It’s because of these two events, people are scrambling to enlarge their living space by a significant amount of square footage.
According to Hearth & Home, an outdoor living trade publication, the pandemic has changed how the public views outdoor living and its revived appeal. Since personal movements and travel have been restricted, online searches on the subject of outdoor expansion have risen over 140%. And, with restrictions on eating out, consumers are opting to stay at home only to cook and dine outdoors rather than in their traditional kitchens.
With a significant number of survey respondents calling an outdoor living space essential, it is clear to see the enormous effect this will have on real estate going forward. This particular feature is in high demand and doesn’t seem to be softening in a fever-pitch market.
In the luxury home category, it appears outdoor living space is going to be expected, and in high demand. Without a doubt, the lack of this extended living space will be used as a negotiation tool by those shopping the high-end market, or at the very least, it will become a deciding factor when choosing a home to purchase.