This year’s Evening Standard New Homes Awards have taken place against an unprecedented backdrop, writes David Spittles. Our usual glittering ceremony in central London had to be postponed because of the pandemic, but here we celebrate the winners and look forward to seeing similarly splendid entries for the 2021 awards.
Despite coming to a grinding halt during lockdown, the property market has staged a spectacular and unpredicted bounce back, with mortgage applications at a 12-year high.
While partly due to a release of pent-up demand, many home-buyers are reappraising their lives and property preferences.
Demand for private outside space has surged, while working from home has brought into sharp focus the design of inside space.
Buyers and renters want homes that are healthier to live in and actively promote well-being; homes that chime with nature and dovetail with their low-carbon, fast-fibre lifestyle and family needs.
Country and coastal properties are higher up the wish list, yet great cities such as London are too resilient to be killed by Covid.
Already developers are responding to the challenges. Indeed, their survival depends on it. The more forward-thinking are creating design solutions, embracing “biophilic” architecture that incorporates nature into buildings.
For generations, home has been a place to return to, a sanctuary separating ourselves from the outside world.
Coronavirus has transformed that sanctuary into something else, or into several things — office, gym, crèche, playground — that is challenging the traditional definition of what a home or development should be.
Some town planners advocate live-work homes as a community based “green” solution to Covid-19 and climate change. The theory is that such clusters can boost neighbourhoods and reduce reliance on polluting transport.
All these issues will loom large in next year’s Evening Standard New Homes Awards. Meanwhile, enjoy the best of the 2020 crop.