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The coronavirus has changed what we want in a home. Here’s how real estate developers are catering to that.

Here’s how residential developments will change after COVID

“Apartments, townhomes, and multi-family living is the housing of the future,” says Christopher Huffman, owner and founder at AIM Capital. “Because millennials will be the single largest renter pool in history, we follow millennial trends and look for where they are going.” 

So, what exactly are those trends in new developments and where are we seeing them? Here are the “must-have” amenities and features that developers are implementing when they buy and build new residential developments in Utah. 

Brooklyn-style builds

When you picture the Big Apple, you imagine crowded streets full of yellow taxis, busy people, and massive buildings. The buildings are a mix of retail shops, restaurants, office spaces, and housing. 

“East Coast trends are meshing into West Coast development and developers are starting to do more Brooklyn-style builds in Utah,” Huffman explains. A “Brooklyn-style build” is a combination of commercial frontage on the bottom level and housing above.


Christian Priskos, COO and managing partner at InterNet Properties says: “A trend we are seeing is that people want city density and amenities so they have everything right there instead of going to drive anywhere.” 

For example: Olympia Hills is a new development in Herriman, Utah that calls itself “a livable, walkable 21st-century community.” It will include office spaces, residences, outdoor trails and parks, and even a Utah State University satellite campus. The Brooklyn-style trend gives people one centrally-located place to live, work, and play, a huge up-and-coming trend. 

The coronavirus has changed what we want in a home. Here’s how real estate developers are catering to that.

Rooftop gardens and patios 

Decks and balconies are old news as most residential properties include either a deck or small patio space with each unit. To entice future renters and owners alike, new residential developments in Utah need to offer rooftop patios, gardens, and other activities as this is a growing trend and desirable feature. 

These spaces can be communal or included atop every townhome and condo being built. People want a quiet place to escape after a busy day at work and rooftop gardens and patios are the perfect way to provide people with an outdoor retreat in a big, urban city. 

High-speed internet 

Internet is considered a utility, however, not all residential developers offer it as an amenity included with the property. 

Connor Johnson, project manager at Thrive Development says: “We’ve made it a priority to have fast internet as part of the package deal by including fiber internet so people can do anything that requires lots of bandwidth like working from home, streaming, or gaming.”

As new developments pop up across the valley, you’ll start to see more and more of them include access to fiber or 5G internet as a way to stand out and appeal to people. High-speed internet in the development itself is a trend that’s here to stay. 

The coronavirus has changed what we want in a home. Here’s how real estate developers are catering to that.

State-of-the-art gyms 

Treadmills and free weights no longer appeal to the average consumer because they’re so commonplace. However, developers must include a gym as an amenity to stay competitive and trending in the space.

“In order to compete, [gyms] have to be nice,” Johnson says. “We look at what [fitness] trends already exist and what’s going on in the city. Your gym has to be cool. Our upcoming projects will have things like Pelotons or include a separate yoga room, and we’ll pay for on-demand yoga.”

Because health and wellness are becoming such an integral part of daily life, you’ll see new residential developments focusing on including top-of-the-line fitness equipment and classes as part of the community. 


Limited parking

Another trend sweeping residential real estate is fewer parking stalls within a complex. Priskos says you’ll see less parking in downtown residential housing because of rideshare programs and scooters. “People moving into these buildings might be coming from larger cities [without] a car [so] they don’t need transportation.”

As such, developers of new residential properties aren’t including as many parking stalls per unit compared to older, existing units.

The coronavirus has changed what we want in a home. Here’s how real estate developers are catering to that.

Sharable space

Because COVID-19 has shifted the way the world functions in 2020, you’ll see its impact on residential development trends, too. Two of the biggest impacts are the layout of units themselves and the inclusion of co-working spaces within a complex.

“When people lose their jobs, two bedrooms become more popular so people can share,” Johnson explains. “Rather than renting a studio or one-bedroom apartment downtown, they’ll share and pay less per square foot and still have their own bedrooms.

“For our projects in Salt Lake City, we will have a conference room that tenants can use. If people are working from home, they have a professional, open workspace and can hold a meeting without being in their apartment. We are including co-op spaces with chairs, desks, and cubbies in a common area as part of new projects.”

These trends are what’s up-and-coming in residential buildings and properties across Utah.

Comments (9)

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    Dave Russell

    This is very interesting and I think the right way to go within heavy urban spaces.

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    Leslie Petty

    Great article!

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    This is very interesting and lots of those aspects sound great. I am not too sure about the fewer car spaces as one of the best parts of living in Utah is the access for road trips to the many surrounding national parks not too far a drive and accessing the national forests high in the uintas and such.

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    Great summary story about the longer range future as housing as current housing is updated and new housing is built. Would you consider updating the story to include what the same sources tell you about the shorter term? Especially how current housing might be reworked because of new demands from the pandemic?

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      DW Crosby

      Hi Ramon,
      You raise an interesting possibility about “…new demands from the pandemic?” Some of those demands might include not being close to neighbors, not being at the mercy of supply chains and infrastructure. And even, how about the sometimes overwhelming desire to not be in a city at all? I have heard estimates of up to fifty thousand families leaving big cities to flee to rural areas, families who want to be self sufficient, and most importantly, families who want to be safe. This market segment might be as important as the high density options referenced in the article.

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    What about parks and green space? Rooftop area is not the kind of area you walk your dog or take your stroller and children. Utah is EXTREMELY family oriented. If you do not provide family friendly amenities, residents will move back to single family dwellings in the burbs when they have children so they can have the things they need to raise a family.

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    State-of-the-art gyms – sounds great. Sharable co-working space – sounds great. Less parking spaces in Utah – not a good idea. It difficult to drive a Lime scooter up Big Cottonwood Canyon.

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    Hilary Reiter

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Salt Lake look a little more like my NYC home when it comes to housing. These are interesting trends.

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    Rich Bennion

    Disagree, Utah is not dense enough now. Most multi use project have failed on the retail side in Murray Fireclay, Murray State street, Murray Vine street, 33rd south retail have failed unless you consider converting to office or class C retail. Utah now needs parking more than a 200 to 400 unit apartment to bring retail users. I agree that with the Utah Skiing, Canyons, Hiking, National Parks, trails, a car is needed, therefore parking is required, and until self driving cars are mainstream and can park themselves outside of the project, not much will change. Roof top gardens next to each other do not have the privacy required. A young family with kids and a dog will still want their own home with a yard, no matter how small.

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