Covid-19 nudges the global cocooning trend up a notch

The global cocooning trend, which was fast becoming an established movement in recent years thanks to progressively convenient digital technology, has been accelerated by Covid-19 which has forced us all to spend more time at home than ever before.

Predicted by marketing guru Faith Popcorn back in 1981, it was only during the past decade that technology really enabled us to do so many things in the comfort of our own homes and have almost anything delivered with the click of a mouse and this convenience has now been adopted by many as the new normal.

“Most of us temporarily adapted our lives to self-isolate and work or study remotely during lockdown, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that this will, at least to some degree, now be the norm for many people going forward,” says Dawn Bloch, Area Specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Zwaanswyk, Lakeside and Kirstenhof.

She adds that there is also likely to be much more use of online education and entertainment.

“Many people have lamented the pervasiveness and invasiveness of technology in recent times, but it has certainly made self-isolation more bearable and allowed us to function with a semblance of normalcy during a difficult time.”

“With little to do at home after the first few weeks, many turned to the internet to relieve the boredom and as a result, new casual gamers have been anointed and others have discovered how easy it can be to take an online course or join a discussion forum of like-minded people.”

Bloch says, that as a result, the key factors that people look for in a home have shifted in accordance with their new needs.

“Whilst there will always be a market for well-priced fixer-uppers, most buyers at the moment are looking for move-in ready properties that offer the option to work from home and are fibre-ready for instant connectivity.

“There are also a number of buyers looking to upsize due to the fact that they will continue to work from home and there is greater demand than before for properties that can accommodate comfortable multi-generational living with in-laws and grandparents.

“A second lounge or snug for kids and their games is also a popular request after many families have spent the last few months having to share a telly and confined communal space.

“And with Covid19 having taught us all to be more self-sufficient when it comes to cooking for ourselves, a priority that’s topping the list is a clean, bright and beautiful kitchen, preferably open plan, along with additional entertainment space such as a covered patio large enough for couches and a dining table.”

However, although people are now more used to spending so much time at home, Bloch says that there are a number of things they can do to make it more comfortable and convenient for the longer term:

  • Dedicated working space – Anticipating being back in the office sooner rather than later, most people have been camping out at the dining table or lounging on the sofa but in order to maintain productivity and motivational levels, setting aside a dedicated, quiet space or room will make all the difference;
  • De-cluttering – With everyone at home so much, the most used areas are likely to have become cluttered and somewhat disorganised and, with self-isolation and remote working set to continue, it will get harder to sort out. Get the family together and spend a day clearing, sorting, saving and discarding;
  • Dedicated kid’s area – It may be some time before kids can freely socialise and get together with groups of friends, so in order to save everyone’s sanity and prevent grievous bodily harm, if you have not already done so, create a nook just for the kids. If you have a separate room, it’s simple but if not, even clearing a corner as a play nook will make a big difference;
  • Family time – Granted, the kids may be looking forward to the day that parents are seldom more than a few meters away, but both parties have become accustomed to spending more time with one another and quality time should be factored into the family routine so as not to fall by the wayside;
  • Create pockets of joy - The new normal can be very challenging with little excitement for the most part. The trick is to appreciate the small things in life and to celebrate anything that brings a genuine smile to our faces. We don’t need major events to give us joy – just a better appreciation of the small blessings.

Bloch says that these shifting trends are already evident in the requests she is now receiving from buyers and the homes which are attracting the most interest.

“I am currently marketing several wonderful properties in Zwaanswyk, but those that are getting the most enquiries are the ones with spacious gardens, preferably with kids play areas and equipment like jungle gyms and homes with added extras like gyms, dedicated office space and fully equipped chef’s kitchens.

“Large gardens were becoming very unpopular in recent years, but many of my clients have expressed how grateful they have been for their gardens during lockdown and we are now seeing a resurgence in demand for larger homes and gardens.

“Children can practice field sports at home, due to schools not being open for sporting activity and the larger gardens are also perfect for establishing vegetable gardens or even paddocks for horse riding.”

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