Real Estate

What your neighbors are doing


A pool under construction in Washington, DC.

Pat Pugliese | CNBC

There is a lot of activity in Justin Sullivan’s backyard, as workers hammer out his new deck, and jackhammers pound through the basement.

Concrete for the new pool has already been poured. The Sullivans had planned a renovation before the pandemic hit, but then suddenly it became a much bigger project.

“The pool, the home gym, the sauna — those are things that when you’re not able to go out, your house is an enjoyable space where you can live bunker-style and still be active, still feel comfortable, and still enjoy,” said Sullivan. “The kids will have spaces to make sure they can work from home, and when it gets really hot in the summertime, they’ll have a place where they can cool off.”

The Sullivans are far from alone in their desire to create a retreat, even if that retreat is in their own basement. Houzz, an online home remodeling platform, reported a 58% annual increase in project leads for home professionals in June.

Those working on outdoor spaces saw the biggest increase in demand, with searches for pool and spa professionals three times what they were a year ago. Not…

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