Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

In a rapidly changing real estate environment, it’s beneficial for property sellers to take note of the new products, styles and habits that are likely to catch on and cause a long-term shift in lifestyles – and the home design preferences of prospective buyers.

So says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group, who believes the current trends most likely to “stick” going forward include the following:

Decluttering and choosing to accumulate memorable experiences rather than objects. “Minimalist decorating is increasingly popular, especially among millennials, so we expect to see a growing preference for homes with elegant and unobtrusive built-in storage units, cupboards and dressing rooms.”

Growing your own food. “Plant-based diets, greater self-care and a concern for the environment are all trends that are encouraging home owners to improve their properties not by making alternations or additions but by turning their gardens into food-producing urban ‘farms’, complete with raised beds, tunnels, rain tanks and irrigation systems. Among those who don’t have access to a garden or balcony, there is also greater demand for interior ‘living walls’ and vertical gardens that ensure access to healthy produce with a low carbon footprint,” he says.

Greater use of Smart home devices and hubs like the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod. These hubs will play music, turn lights on and off, monitor your security system and control any other Smart home systems you have installed, all at the sound of your voice. Built-in home assistants like Alexa can also keep a diary, make a list, answer questions, find your nearest Italian restaurant and even run programmes which help you to learn a new language. “Consequently, we think new homes will increasingly be fitted with comprehensive Smart systems from the outset, and also supplied with robots to do household chores like vacuuming, mowing the lawn, folding clothes and even pet-sitting,” says Everitt.

Versatile layouts. “More and more companies are encouraging their employees to work remotely, and an increasing number of people are also choosing to be self-employed. Consequently, there is increasing demand for properties with adaptable spaces that can accommodate a home office or a home-based business when necessary, as well as multifunctional living areas.”

 Micro and mobile homes. The tiny homes movement has been around for some time but is now tending towards micro-homes that can be towed, as well as recreational vehicles (RVs) that are becoming full-time homes for cash-strapped millennials and senior citizens who love to travel but want the comforts of home. “Would-be homeowners are also exploring all sorts of alternatives to traditionally-built houses and apartments, including customised shipping containers, and given the opportunities these present for recycling and living off-grid, we think local authorities and banks will increasingly have to accept them, create appropriate safety standards for their use, and fund them,” he says.

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