Zillow recently announced its six hottest home trends to watch for in 2024. Four of them are wellness-related. No one should be surprised by this, as homeowners are increasingly acknowledging and appreciating the links between their living spaces and quality of life. That’s showing up in both home improvement and resale reports.

Here are the trends the real estate platform cited, and why designers and real estate professionals interviewed in writing about them agree — with a few caveats.

Sensory Gardens and Pathways

What Zillow reported:

“Sensory gardens have been surging in popularity, with homeowners and home buyers prioritizing functional and beautiful outdoor space as a way to reconnect with nature. Listings mentioning sensory gardens or pathways are up 314% compared to last year.”

Zillow home trends expert Amanda Pendleton ties this popular amenity to the extended time we spent at home during the pandemic increasing our passion for connecting with nature. “Sensory gardens concentrate those benefits by engaging all five senses,” she shared.

“The demand for sensory outdoor experiences has been growing, driven by families and work-from-home professionals who value both educational outdoor spaces for children and a tranquil environment to offset home offices,” noted Megan Majd with Compass on Los Angeles’ Westside. She sees potential marketability enhancement from these features. “Greenery and outdoor spaces are always on the wishlist for buyers. Sensory gardens cater to a particular clientele who is aware of the wellness value these bring to their lives.”

Charleston, South Carolina-based landscape architect Glen Gardner commented, “Sensory gardens and paths are a part of nearly all [our] projects, whether they are specifically requested or not — as I use them as a part of good design.” He includes fragrant elements like jasmine, gardenia, citrus blossoms, and tea olives. “It’s also wonderful to integrate an occasional edible like blueberries or figs along a pathway to grab a few while in the garden and eat while wandering. I am also a big fan of tucking herbs into the landscape, being able to run out and grab some sprigs of rosemary, bay leaves, thyme, and oregano.”

Cold Plunge Pools

What Zillow reported:

“Cold plunge pools are the hottest wellness trend of 2024, touted by influencers as a way to improve circulation and reduce inflammation. The share of listings that feature an at-home cold plunge pool is up 130% compared to last year.”

Pendleton commented, “We typically see built-in cold plunge pools as a feature in luxury homes, but there are an increasing number of portable plunge pools now on the market. From large plug-in models to inflatable plunge pools, anyone can get the benefits of a cold-plunge pool at all different price points, making this wellness trend more accessible than ever.”

Cold plunge pools are most frequently mentioned in for-sale listings in Stamford, Connecticut, and Las Vegas.

What Experts Say:

Los Angeles-based Sally Forster Jones with Compass declared, “Anyone at the higher end of the market sees this as a new requirement, and if there isn’t a cold plunge, they are having one installed.”

“In recent years people seem to have the attitude that they will get their money back (or perhaps more) with a tastefully designed pool,” Gardner observed. He does point out that cold plunge pools aren’t being driven by the same whole household impulses as other recreational features. “It tends to be just one family member who has embraced the therapy and wants to enjoy it at home as opposed to having to go to the gym or spa.”

Pickleball Courts

What Zillow reported:

“This fast-paced paddle sport is becoming a sought-after amenity in backyards and neighborhoods. Nationwide, pickleball mentions are up 64% compared to last year.”

“Pickleball is accessible and appealing to all ages,” Pendleton observed, noting that it offers both fitness and social interaction benefits. “With the sport’s rising popularity, a dedicated at-home or nearby neighborhood pickleball court has become a selling point for many homebuyers.”

Mentions of pickleball courts are most common in for-sale listings in Sarasota and Provo, Utah.

What Experts Say:

“As the wellness movement continues to build momentum, buyer expectations are becoming more sophisticated,” shared New York City-based real estate agent Taylor Middleton of Douglas Elliman. She serves that metro, the Hamptons, and South Florida. “My clients — in particular, my international and California buyers — are prioritizing contemporary options.” She sees pickleball courts (and plunge pools) as likely having the most enduring appeal and value enhancement among the four Zillow wellness trends. Ultimately, Middleton surmised, “The main resale appeal is that in time, these amenities will become buyer expectations.”

“Pickleball has been a family recreation conversation,” Gardner reported, citing its physical and social benefits, as well as the fact that it takes less space than tennis. “We have clients hosting parties at home based around pickleball tournaments with groups of friends. In several cases, it’s being used as a destination activity to draw friends and family over to spend time.”

It’s worth noting that the noise and lights of pickleball courts can be a negative factor for some properties and communities.

Murals

What Zillow reported:

“Homeowners and home buyers are saying goodbye to bland in favor of personality-packed homes. Murals are showing up 18% more often in for-sale homes and they’re more accessible than ever. Wallpaper murals are now readily available and depict all types of scenes, from large-scale landscapes to modern botanicals.”

Pendleton commented “Personalization is a growing trend in interiors as homeowners increasingly want their homes to reflect who they are and how they live. Murals make a visual statement, create ambiance, and can be an instant conversation starter.”

Murals are most commonly found in for-sale listings in McAllen, Texas, and Tucson.

What Experts Say:

“When done properly, and pending the home’s target homebuyer, a mural can certainly add to a home’s appeal. Especially for a younger homebuyer,” stated Orange County, California Compass agent Todd Davis.

Architect William Court practicing in Savannah and Bluffton, South Carolina shared that, “We have used custom murals and wall coverings on several homes. Each one tends to present a unique point of view and is often highly personal to our clients. It is an impact statement, so it takes a certain sense of commitment on their behalf.” He does not anticipate that these design statements will benefit the home’s real estate value. “Resale did not come into the conversation, but the sense of quality and finish were certainly discussed,” he noted. He did relate that one of the projects unexpectedly became a spec house and the new owner was attracted to the hand-painted panels in the study.

Source: forbes.com ~ By: Jamie Gold ~ Image:

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