Today I watched a video on home trends filmed at the 2010 International Builders Show. I confess, you may not want to click it -- it's the type that reminds me of Charlie Brown's teacher. With HGTV, why did I click that? Way too press conference-ee for most of our taste. Nonetheless, I'm really glad I did. The info is good to know although the delivery is far from the bells and whistles of Hollywood. To sum it up, reps from the National Association of Home Builders and Better Homes and Gardens both presented new construction statistics and consumer reports on expected home trends. This is a little bit of what they had to say.
5 New Home Trends in no particular order
1. The average home size is smaller. Wow. Did not guess that one. The average home size shrunk last year for the 1st time in over twenty years. Yes, the size of new homes built over the years was continuously on the rise since the 80s and for the first time in three decades, we are going backwards a little bit. Now mind you, over time we took two steps forward and one step back, inching upward all the while since the 50s where 1,000 foot homes were average, but we had contiguous years of growth for the past 20+ years with no steps back at all until now -- and now we finally backed up an itty bitty bit.
2. The one level home is back by popular demand. The two story and multi level construction has decreased and the one level homes are back over the 50% mark. In recent years, the levels have hovered at 50/50 with a rise in the 90s of the two story homes, but the single level is back in. I can relate there. True to my Texas spirit, I'm a big ranch fan here.
3. Energy efficient features are high on the priority list. Not only are new home builders saying consumers are backing off a bit on size and placing shorter orders, but they are also expecting consumers to demand energy efficiencies like appliances, insulated doors and low E windows, modern HVAC systems and programmable thermostats, radiant barriers and water conserving toilets. Builders need to listen up to their association, because this is certainly what I am hearing, too.
4. Storage spaces like master bedroom walk in closets, linen closets and a dedicated laundry room are all more of a minimum at all price points today than they are an extra or after market addition. And even in the less than luxury markets, 3 car garages are in demand. When it comes to storage, it appears that cost will not take a cut. I am certainly hearing the same in my area with my clients.
5. Open concept with taller ceilings will remain popular by builders to cut down on the amount of walls and divisions in the smaller homes they intend to build. An open concept with a smaller home makes it feel larger than it is. As well, taller ceilings help. Home builders are reporting they do not mean the taller, two story foyers and formals. Those plans are scrapped more often today. What they mean is simply 9 and 10 foot ceilings vs. 8 foot ceilings.
Now this is the part I think is interesting.
Top 3 things they expected to see, but are not foreseeing anymore a.k.a. we changed our minds. And note, this is all about the kitchen.
1. Granite countertops -- they thought this would be "the norm" at many pricepoints, but as it turns out, not everyone is in love and demanding granite the way they once predicted. I have to interject my opinion here in my DFW area -- solid surfaces are pretty demanded even at more economical pricepoints. I am not sure I am buying it that they can sell it without it. But that's what they said fell at the bottom of the list.
2. The walkin pantry -- I have to interject my own opinion here, too... who stays home and cooks all day? Let's be realistic, even those of us who do cook, it's not the type of cooking where you have every ingredient known to man in your house because you only horse and buggy to the country store once a month. I can see where this is no longer a big huge deal like perhaps people made it out to be before.
3. Outdoor kitchens -- now this one just really busted my bubble. No, they didn't say scrap outdoor living spaces. That is still a big demand and builders recognize outdoor living will continue to be an important feature. But building an entire outdoor kitchen will be more commonly scrapped by builders when in recent past they went ahead and did it. Appears this won't be as popular for builders to do on specs as perhaps previously indicated.
Well, darnit, I'll enjoy the fruits of my husband's labor on our little do-it-yourself project outside anyway (currently a work in progress waiting on the pergola) and hold hope it does help with resale in the near future, even if the analysts are predicting a big fat scrap-it by the builders.
Hope this tidbit gives us all some insight as to what we can expect out of what's left of our new construction market.