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OK... so while Seventies shag pile and serving hatches mightn’t make a comeback any time soon, the millennial penchant for open-plan might be starting to pall.

No longer are knock-through living/kitchen/diners top of the must-haves, instead as a result of lockdown and the need to work from home, it’s all about high speed internet connections and home office space.’s latest statistics, produced in conjunction with the Ulster Bank, indicate a seismic shift among job seekers with twice as many people looking for  work-from-home roles last year compared to the previous 12 months.

The result is that the once dated dining room subsumed by so many open-plan living schemes has suddenly become a longed-for luxury, just like the extra bedroom you decided against  lest it encouraged in-laws to out-stay their welcome.

Home office space has suddenly rocked up that list of must-haves in your home and if you’ve ever wrangled the dogs/the kids/the Tesco grocery delivery while on a ‘work call’ you’ll understand why.

As we’ve swapped the office for the kitchen table/ tray on knees/spare room (if you don’t mind the in-laws staying over) the attraction of the basic necessities we took for granted in the workplace have developed a new cache.

As a result, people’s housing needs have changed quicker than anyone could ever have predicted. Less than two years ago 70% of Northern Ireland workers, according to the HR organisation CIPD, said employers gave them no option to work from home.

Yet lockdown has, for many employees, proved the feasibility and attraction of allowing employees to work from home – not to mention money-saved on soaring office running costs. While for the latter it’s proved a positive experience allowing individuals and families to recalibrate that precious work-life balance.

The result is that in a recent poll by Lloyds Bank three-quarters of those surveyed who already worked from home said home office potential would be high on their must-have list when moving. A fifth of those who don’t yet work from home agreed.

And three-quarters of those already working from home had spent money customising a home office in their existing homes, so people are prepared to invest in what’s looking like a possible necessity for the future.

The good news too is that a home office can add value to your property and make it more attractive to buyers and/or renters who will choose your place over your neighbour’s if its splendid open-plan living offers limited potential for home working.

Similarly as more employers offer options for staff to work from home, landlords and investors who provide office space and high-speed internet in their properties could see higher returns and fewer void periods.

So the moral of the story is then that while the attraction of a separate dining room cum office is obvious, steer clear of the shag pile and serving hatch.

If you’d like more information on the services we offer, get in touch with one of our estate agents, who would be happy to provide you with more information at

About Rea Estates:

At Rea Estates, we provide award-winning services to a wide range of clients and we are highly specialised in all aspects of sales, lettings and management.

We sell, let, and manage property across the greater Belfast area and North Down. We also provide comprehensive property investment services, including property sourcing and property procurement, refurbishment and project management, and tenant sourcing and tenancy management. Our property services are entirely bespoke based entirely on the requirements of the client.

News Story written and provided by Mandi Millar