REAL ESTATE | TRES BROOKS

Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders have led many homeowners to rethink their spaces – in some cases opting for sparsely populated towns over big cities and putting larger, more secluded rural properties at the top of their home buying wish list. These changes are due not only to an increased emphasis on safety from the virus, but also because of the trend toward remote work and school, making living near an office or school no longer a necessity.

Without safe access to restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues, many homeowners now view their home as a much more crucial aspect of their day-to-day wellbeing, where they must cook their own meals, find ways to exercise and maintain a social life. It is anticipated these consumer behavior changes will extend long past the lifespan of this pandemic, creating a cultural shift toward an interest in more isolated home lots and properties connected to nature.

The trend is already being reflected in data, which shows a dramatic increase in online views of properties in rural zip codes. In Arizona, this is causing an increase of demand for properties in less populated mountain towns like Flagstaff, which already has limited home and land inventory. Statewide, only 18 percent of Arizona’s land is private, and only a small fraction of that is available for sale or in a desirable area.

For example, The Estates are a rare, 16-lot collection of 10-acre homesites created as an extension to Flagstaff’s coveted Forest Highlands neighborhood and bordered by the Coconino National Forest. The recently completed project offers Arizonans a unique chance to purchase the large properties that experts are seeing grow in popularity during the pandemic, as properties like this capture what many families are looking for amidst COVID-19 – wide open spaces that allow for social distancing, access to nature and a place to escape to during online learning and virtual workdays.

The spaces also open the opportunity to creatively design your dream home which is an exciting project to take up any quarantine free time. Some common features that people are adding to their new homes include spacious home offices, separate work rooms for kids and large yards with activities for families to enjoy together.

For many real estate buyers, buying property can also offer a lower risk investment strategy during an uncertain economic future, especially in areas where there is less land available and a strong real estate market in place. Overall, with the expansion of needs that must be reflected in a home, now is the time to invest in your future residence and provide your family unit with the tools to succeed during the spread of the virus and beyond.

Tres Brooks is chairman and CEO of The Brooks Companies, LLC.