The features that home buyers look for reflect the changing realities of the world we live in. For example, as the average age of the population rises, so does the demand for one storey homes. With environmental issues reaching our collective consciousness, so does the demand for "green" features increase.
I spent some time this morning reading various reports and studies to find out the trends home builders and renovators might want to pay particular attention to. What I found was not surprising at all. Buyers are placing increased importance on:
Open concept floor plans
One level living
Main floor master bedrooms
Recently, the Ontario Association of Home Builders held their meetings here in Collingwood and some of the newer trends they identified were:
- McMansions are being traded for better quality homes
- People want to age-in-place and are looking for homes that are easily adapted for accessibility
- People are expanding their living into the outdoors with a greater demand for 3-season living spaces such as covered patios and porches, sunrooms
They also specifically noted that buyers are demanding greater energy efficiency in their homes and are willing to pay for it to a certain point. Some of the features they are looking at include:
* Homes that are pre-wired to be solar ready
* New products and building techniques that will address the fact that homes built under the new building code in 2012 will be more air tight
* Kill switches to easily turn off appliances using phantom energy
* Home automation systems for multi-media
* A movement away from stucco to things like stone and hardiboard
* Kitchens with walk-in pantries, solid surface countertops, specific task lighting and energy efficient appliances.
If you are buying a new home, it's a good idea to incorporate as many of these elements as possible because they are likely to become the norm when you one day face resale of your property. For people renovating their homes, it's also a good idea to consider these trends both for resale and for efficient and healthy home operation. Remember, the cost of operating your home (heat, hydro, water) are the second price tag of ownership.