Italians and the house, the ten wishes of living after Covid

With the pandemic and lockdown it is now known that Italians have learned to look at their homes with new eyes. The CasaDoxa2021 survey identifies the ten ways in which Italians have changed their own desire to live due to (or thanks to) covid.

Smartworking, green spaces, sustainability and technologies. These characteristics have entered, and will remain, for a long time among the characteristics of the new normality, redefining the concept of home and living of our compatriots. The fourth edition of theCasaDoxa Observatory, signed by BVA Doxa, found that more and more Italians intend to move house within the next 4 years. If in 2019, in pre-pandemic times, the percentage reached 22%, in 2021 it will reach 26%, equal to an increase of 2 million people. And the lockdown is precisely the factor behind this desire: the 53% of those who intend to move house in the next four years declare in fact that the experience of the closures that alternated throughout 2020 and the beginning of 2021 has contributed to nurture this desire.

The sample of over 7,000 Italian families involved in the survey demonstrated, in particular, ten new habits and desires related to living that we will hear a lot about in the near future. Here are which ones.

1. A house with open spaces and green areas

In addition to having revolutionized our daily habits, the pandemic has also reoriented the priorities and evaluation criteria to consider when looking for a new home. Forced into their homes for several months, the Italians now complain above all open spaces and green areas where you can live in contact with nature. Thus, gardens and terraces stand out in the ranking of "must-haves" for new homes (67%, +9% compared to 2019) and the presence of greenery just a few minutes' walk away (65%, with an increase of 17% over 2019). The inability to meet relatives and friends as often as before has also increased the value of human relations: having a good neighborhood is today a very important criterion for almost 3 out of 5 Italians who intend to buy a new home.

The rooting of smartworking in the daily lives of Italians it has instead made other factors that have always guided the choice of a house less important. For example, in the ranking of desires, the criterion that drops the most compared to previous years is proximity to the workplace (in 2021 it is very important for the 45% of respondents). Although they are less of a priority than in the previous two-year period, proximity to public transport (55%) and the presence of a garage or parking space (65%) still remain very important for Italians looking for a home.

2. A green and sustainable home

In the domestic sphere, sustainability and healthiness are now two paradigms: almost all Italians consider these concepts important when associated with their own home, and the recent pandemic experience has contributed to their centrality soaring. As for "green" habits, on the basis of a renewed sensitivity towards environmental issues also supported and encouraged by government bonuses dedicated to sustainable mobility, the presence of electric columns is now a very important evaluation criterion for the 37% of Italians when choosing a new home. On this front, the growth compared to the pre-Covid period is remarkable: +19% on 2019, a figure also supported by the fact that currently 2 out of 5 Italians are considering buying a means of transport with power supply or hybrid, such as a car, scooter, bicycle and kick scooter. These data fit into a broader context of energy transition for the home and mobility, increasingly oriented towards electricity and low environmental impact.

3. Local energy communities

Italians' awareness of what a local energy community is is still low: only the 4% knows the meaning of this expression. But what exactly is it about? A local energy community is an association between producers and consumers where some users satisfy a part of their energy needs through self-production – for example through solar panels – and sell the energy left over to their supplier, who redistributes it to the community. Although there is still a long way to go for this innovative model to be known by the wider public, the 2021 edition of CasaDoxa reveals that, once they have become aware of the issue, respondents say they are inclined to join an energy community in 64% of cases.

4. Smartworking, the future is divided between home and business

After a year in which Italians have reinvented their domestic spaces to reconcile the working life with everyday life at home, the promising state of progress of the vaccination campaign suggests - the trend of the pandemic permitting - the possibility of returning to the office at full capacity after the summer. But, on this last point, how do the Italian workers who have experienced it think smartworking? The CasaDoxa 2021 Observatory photographs a hybrid situation, where the 78% of the interviewees say they are ready to work both from home and in the company, an aggregate figure resulting from a 42% who claims they want to work mainly in companies and a 36% who, on the contrary, would rather do it from home. Although the preference is for a general format switching between home and business, there is broad agreement – nearly 8 out of 10 workers – that working from home is an opportunity. One's home is therefore given a new function that pleases and which seems destined to remain even when the crisis linked to Covid-19 is definitively overcome.

5. Sport is right at home

However, the house is not only synonymous with smartworking. In fact, the share of those who transform their home into one is increasing more and more space for sporting activities. Between 2019 and 2021, the percentage of people who played sports at home in the last year grew by 110%, going from 12% to 25%. As regards the prospects for the future, in this case the home/gym alternation will be chosen by 1 out of 2 Italians, while exclusive training in the gym remains a certainty for 38% of the interviewees.

6. Home gardens: it's booming in big city condominiums

Unable to immerse themselves in the greenery of areas outside the big cities and invited to limit travel, in the last year Italians have rediscovered their passion for "green thumb”, not only for decorative purposes, but also for production needs. In fact, 2 out of 5 houses now grow vegetables, fruit or medicinal herbs. But the big difference emerges from the comparison between the city and the countryside, and the related more typical types of dwelling: if before it was above all those who lived in independent villas and in provincial towns, we are now observing a boom in condominiums and large cities, where the increase for home gardens is 53% and 44% respectively.

7. The house as the center of gravity of Italian lives

More generally, the house has therefore taken on a new value, becoming the true center of gravity of our existence. Indeed, the CasaDoxa 2021 Observatory shows that Italians have discovered the different and, in some cases, new ways of living in the rooms of the house (49%), they have become aware of the hidden potential of their own home (46%) and have experienced the pleasure of cure the decor (43%). On a social level, then, Italians have rediscovered the pleasure of spending more time with their own family (39%). Finally, on the technological front, the 38% of the Italians, prompted by the need to carry out most of their activities remotely, have realized how important it is to have a good web connection.

8. Effortless and interactive home

Beyond the definitive discovery of the importance of being able to count on one stable internet connection fast and capable of being able to fulfill all the new needs of smart life, how has the relationship between Italians and technology changed in the last year? More than half of those interviewed (52%) affirm that this partnership has changed for the better, above all because technology is no longer perceived as superfluous, but useful (40%), accessible to many and no longer reserved for a niche (40%), always easier and less complex (38%). However, there is still a lot to be done to reassure Italians about the safety of managing their own sensitive data online, a theme that is still relevant today especially in the light of the recent events involving some of the main social networks. In fact, only the 20% of the Italians managed to overcome fears for their privacy and to consider the technology as a whole safe.

As for the trends of progressive openness towards the connected and interactive home, the CasaDoxa 2021 Observatory notes that in the last two years there has been a sharp increase (35% in 2019 vs 44% in 2021) in the share of those who already have it or can't wait to integrate devices and technologies to make their own "effortless" dwelling. All this takes place in the face of a decrease in those who do not yet have a precise idea - the uncertainties drop from 43% in 2019 to 35% this year - and a substantial stationarity - with a stable share around 20% - of the wait-and-see, i.e. those who are intrigued, but think that technology is not for them or that it is too sophisticated for their own home.

9. Technology in the home and assistance to dependent family members

For Italians, technology is a very useful ally to fulfill some welfare tasks, such as, for example assist family members not independent (76%). Likewise, technology helps make the home more comfortable and easier to manage as a whole (74%) and safer (73%), also avoiding domestic accidents (72%). Finally, the use of technological devices helps save money in home management according to the 59% of Italians.

10. A simpler home thanks to technology

 In general, the concept of effortless home – which is articulated on the three elements of the simplification of domestic life, security from intrusions and safety, which has to do with healthiness andsocial and health assistance – is appreciated by over 1 out of 2 Italians. However, the so-called "simplified" house is destined to grow in the future: 50% of those interviewed are in fact inclined to make their current home "effortless", a percentage that rises to 66% if the thought refers to one's future home.

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