The hottest new trend in house hunting is…nature?

by Julia Berger

In today’s digital age, homeowners seem to be most keenly interested in one thing: getting in touch with the outdoors. According to new research most of them would even downsize their square footage to do so. 

A recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research and sponsored by homebuilder Taylor Morrison showed that more than half — 56 percent — of homebuyers would be willing to downsize their ideal indoor home space for more yard space outside.  

While some may attempt to chalk this up to the new “millennial lifestyle” that brought with it tiny houses and a resurgence of “living on the road,” in actuality more outdoor space is something millennials and other generations agree on. “Breathing room” was considered the most important exterior factor to consider when buying a home by 48 percent of millennials and 53 percent of non-millennials.  

Interest in more outdoor space is stronger among women than it is men, with 62 percent of women preferring less home square footage and larger yards, compared to 51 percent of men.  

“Demand for more elaborate exterior space continues to rise and blending indoor-outdoor living to address customer preferences is critical to our success,” says Taylor Morrison chairman and CEO Sheryl Palmer, citing examples such as outdoor living rooms, floor-to-ceiling and windows/glass walls. The survey also showed that shoppers would be willing to spend an extra $10,000–$15,000 on upgrades with “outdoor living items” topping the list. 

Another possible explanation for this change towards less indoor/more outdoor square footage would be the home owner’s desire for privacy — more yard space means more distance between neighbors. Homeowners want not only “a room of one’s own” they want space to host get-togethers, raise kids (and pets), or be out of hearing distance of other neighbors’ louder events.