When Century 21 Real Estate enlisted National Geographic CreativeWorks to create a branded documentary focused on reimagining how and where we live, the two global brands had no idea the levels of impact the global pandemic would have on people’s lives, the industry, and the overall home experience. Sharing distinctly similar values and the same spirit to further knowledge and understanding of delivering a unique customer journey, the documentary “Home Rediscovered,” an integral part of the CENTURY 21® brand’s 50th anniversary celebration, premiered on the National Geographic network on September 23, 2021 to much acclaim for its deep dive into how homes became the center of our universe in a way they never had before and future-thinking focus on the relationship between life – work, school, working out, socializing— and living spaces inside the home.
“The key to building lifetime value for our clients is raising the bar and creating effortless consumer experiences within their real estate journey by focusing on the human aspect of our industry,” said Michael Miedler, President and CEO, Century 21 Real Estate LLC. “This documentary gave us the opportunity to really dive into what matters most for homeowners — especially within the current climate we’re all living in. National Geographic CreativeWorks was the perfect collaborator for this project given their reputation for providing a unique perspective into key elements of daily life. It aligned well with our brand and our relentless sales professionals’ understanding of what clients and customers want and expect from their real estate experience.”
To support the documentary, the CENTURY 21 brand commissioned a global research study with the magnetic collective, an insights-driven brand consultancy, to explore how the past year transformed the modern home and what these changes might mean for the future of homeownership and the real estate through the eyes of real estate agents, builders, recent buyers, and future buyers in five countries including the United States, Australia, France, Spain and Japan.
Here is a quick look at five big ways the stay-at-home life changed how and where we live and transformed the future of real estate.
1. We’re on the move: More than one-in-five adults in the United States either moved for pandemic-related reasons or know someone who did, according to this survey. The combination of remote work and school, low-interest rates, and a cabin fever-inspired longing for more space helped ignite red-hot real estate markets in small and midsize cities, suburbs, and rural areas. But we’re not going far. Across all markets, most of the people surveyed reported moving within 20 miles or kilometers of their current home; longer distance moves (50+ miles or kilometers) are more common in the US and France than in other markets
2. We’re adapting spaces: 74 percent of us are now working from home (up from 20 percent before the pandemic), inspiring us to channel our inner interior designer to accommodate remote work and school. With 43% of those surveyed across all five markets indicating a desire for flex space as a desired home feature, hallways now double as classrooms, mudroom makeovers create home offices and gyms, and overlooked nooks become craft and computer stations. In addition, many Americans could likely use an addition (or an attic, basement, or garage conversion) with more people living under one roof than ever before in recorded history — 22 percent of recent buyers even reported moving because family members moved into their home.
3. We’re living more sustainably (or want to be): Realities of pandemic life — such as driving less, craving outdoor space more, and a heightened awareness of the importance of good hygiene — helped shine a spotlight on protecting our health and the health of the planet.
4. Urban flight may not be a lasting trend: Future buyers in all countries surveyed reported that they are more likely to stay in urban areas by a large margin (compared to recent buyers) — 82% in the U.S., 80% in Japan, 59% in France, 73% in Spain and 62% in Australia.
5. We’re big on bathrooms: Whether it’s the increased focus on self-care or because the bathroom became a personal escape for many pandemic parents, spa-like bathrooms are now high on the wish lists of future homebuyers. Fifty-two percent of future homebuyers surveyed by CENTURY 21 named high-end bathroom amenities as their most sought-after indoor amenity compared to only 37 percent of recent homebuyers.
“Looking forward, we’re able to take what we’ve learned from this work and use it to shape how we meet client demands in the future and continue to be industry thought leaders,” added Miedler. “Our path as a global organization is clear: to provide the most comprehensive industry platform so our relentless sales professionals can elevate every touchpoint and transform the game from real-estate transactions to experiences worth celebrating.”