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How COVID is Changing the Needs of Ottawa Home Buyers

Posted by susan-adm on August 6, 2020
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There is no doubt that Covid-19 has changed every aspect of our lives. This is no surprise after months of living at home in quarantine, adjusting to our changing personal, work, and school environments, while feeling uncertain about the future. Now that more consumers have returned to home buying, we are seeing a shift in the needs of Ottawa home buyers compared to the house features they were seeking pre-pandemic.

How the Needs of Ottawa Home Buyers are Changing

Ottawa home buyers are re-evaluating what will best suit their lives in their new pandemic world. Their wish lists have changed because of three new desires:

1. Valuing nature over convenience 

Pre-COVID home buyers often looked for homes with an easy or reduced commute, close to good schools or near frequently visited facilities. As a result, other considerations like cost and space were deprioritized. Now, in our new world, home buyer priorities have flipped.

Many consumers are now looking for homes further away from town and city centers. They want more access to nature and a space that would allow for easier physical distancing from neighbours. Their desires include a backyard and space for a small garden to supply food.  Convenient access to parks and a location with an easy escape from the city are common requests now.

With the continued upward trajectory of Ottawa home prices now averaging $575,000, buying a house isn’t feasible for everyone. Buyers looking for condos and multi-unit dwellings are also changing their views on nature. For instance, a balcony is desired, as are inner courtyards, green spaces, park access, and more natural lighting within the unit.

2. Remote Working – Ottawa home buyers – new awakening that work can be done anywhere

Thanks to the pandemic, a real-life remote working test from home was forced upon many of us. Some preferred working from home and some of us can not wait to return to traditional office space! The big takeaway for Ottawa home buyers is realizing that with a good Wi-Fi connection, they can work from anywhere – even a cottage. In fact, inquiries for rentals and purchases of cottages have increased dramatically since May.

These changing preferences are because: 

  • Consumers want to be prepared if their lives are turned upside down again. They are looking to balance their lifestyle and work. Imagine merging both, taking a break in nature, and staying in a cottage to complete a work project? Similarly, a cottage can offer a stress-free space for children to take classes online and easily enjoy the outdoors.


  • With the uncertainty of the stock market, it has forced people to think differently about where to invest their money – in investments or real estate?


  • An unspent vacation budget for 2020 can go towards the purchase of a cottage. A cottage offers a staycation in a comfortable and safe setting.

3. The Allocation of Space at Home Has Changed Dramatically

a. More space for a home office 

It’s no surprise that many Ottawa home buyers have come to us looking for more space and a larger home. They have complained that their dining room table is no longer a workspace option for them. Office space requires privacy and freedom from distractions. Private space is needed for all the adults and children in the home to work and study under the same roof at the same time.

Building an addition to achieve more space is not feasible for everyone. It can be costly, time-consuming, and disruptive to the family.

Prefabricated sheds are assembled in a backyard that gives space flexibility without the fuss of a lengthy building project. These units take little time to install and can be made to order. As a home office, it gives the separation from the home environment and the flexibility of taking calls during early or late hours, free of distractions.

Sheds can be flexible to meet your space needs as a bedroom, equipped with lighting and heat. As Ottawa continues to be a seller’s market, this could be a viable option to increase your space.


b. Home gym or a pool  

The pandemic lockdown minimized our ability to exercise whenever our schedules allow. Are public recreational facilities a thing of the past? More consumers are looking for space to create a home gym, so their exercise will not be disrupted again. If gyms are closed, there is no option otherwise. The same goes for public swimming pools. Some of our Ottawa home buyers weren’t looking for pools before COVID. Now, they want to exercise and enjoy summers at home because they question whether public pools will be considered a safe recreational option in the future.


c. More functional kitchens  

Some of us have become experienced bakers and gourmet cooks in the last few months while confined to our homes. The lockdown highlighted the desire for a more functional kitchen to prepare and cook meals easily, store more kitchen equipment, and stock up on more food supplies.


d. Home layout and design  

Aside from all the needs and desires to use space differently, some home developers suggest that home design may change forever. For example, will an open-concept home be the most preferred home design? Will more privacy, and more closed rooms be preferred to open- concept? Closed hallways and laundry rooms may become more important to isolate street clothing, wash hands, and clean goods before moving through the rest of the house.


Has your future home checklist changed this year too? Let us know in the comments. Regardless of what kind of Ottawa home buyer you are, send us a message. We would be happy to talk to you about what features you are looking for in your next property.



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