DALLAS—Developed by three women leaders in the homebuilding industry, the America at Home Study shows future design trends, what people are willing to spend and the changes occurring now. The results also shed light on how homeowners view these investments, offering a new path forward for the industry at large.

Until the America at Home Study, no organization had gathered hard data about one of the most important factors: how Americans will view homes after being quarantined while working, teaching children and finding a new normal. Moreover, the motivation to purchase or rent a home has drastically changed due to the pandemic.

This is not the first time America has faced great uncertainty. When major shifts occur in society, people live differently as evidenced by the 1918 pandemic, during which the importance of cleanliness became a lasting imprint on the fabric of American life. The America at Home Study results suggest the same effect will be felt in 2020 and beyond as US citizens overcome the severe disruption of coronavirus.

The study was spearheaded by marketing expert and principal at tst ink LLC, Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki, market and consumer researcher/founder and chief strategist at Strategic Solutions Alliance, Belinda Sward, and CEO of DAHLIN Architecture and Planning, Nancy Keenan.

“Think back to WWII when the automobile industry pulled the US economy out of peril. Now, the evolution of the housing industry has the strong potential of being a major factor in pulling the economy back from the devastation of COVID-19,” said Slavik-Tsuyuki. “Similar to the response of 9/11, where we witnessed a visible commitment to safety, COVID-19 has become a force of transformation, calling upon the housing and development industry to respond in parallel.”

What matters now, given the hard data, is that the housing industry can take actionable steps to forge ahead, providing cleaner and safer housing for all.

“The America at Home Study shows an extraordinary renaissance happening during stay-at-home measures,” said Keenan. “We as decision makers in the housing industry should assemble and act in honor of what renters and homeowners desire next.”

Likely due to better affordability, respondents in the South including Texas had the highest preference for single-family detached homes with 83% choosing this product type from a list of options versus 72% of the nation overall.

“And these same potential buyers are willing to make the most trade-offs of all in order to be able to buy a home,” Sward tells GlobeSt.com. “Top trade-offs included foregoing a yard if they have access to open space via a balcony, deck or patio; smaller yard sizes, smaller or no garage and smaller home sizes.”

Respondents in the South were more likely than any other region of the country to say they have started “sanitizing things more” (75%). With the heightened concerns about hygiene, the survey asked if buyers wanted a home with laundry in the garage. It was met with lukewarm response, with 23% of respondents in the South saying they wanted this option and were willing to pay for it, the highest in the nation.