Home Size Increases in AIA Home Design Trends Survey


As the once struggling residential market continues to steadily improve, the size of homes has grown in response. This is the case for both high-end and custom homes as well as additions to existing homes. In addition, preferences for accessible spaces in homes—such as open-space layouts and single-floor design—also continue to rise.

Led by continued improving consumer confidence in the housing market, business conditions at residential architecture firms are at their strongest growth levels since the economic downturn. These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the first quarter of 2013, which focuses specifically on overall home layout and the use of interior and exterior space.

“We’ve seen over the past few years, an increased interest in seamlessly blending indoor and outdoor spaces and building in more informal spaces into homes,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Because lot sizes don’t show any signs of increasing, it’s clear that homeowners want to maximize their current square footage to its highest potential, as opposed to increasing it.”

Overall home layout and size trends

Residential elements (% of respondents that reported   increases) 2013 2012
Volume 24% 20%
Square footage 12% 8%
Lot size 3% 5%
In-home accessibility 64% 64%
Open space layout 56% 55%
Informal space 60% 51%
Access in/out of home 55% 47%
Single-floor plan 46% 45%

Outdoor living and landscaping trends

Residential elements (% of respondents that reported   increases) 2013 2012
Low irrigation landscaping 61% 65%
Outdoor living space 63% 64%
Blended indoor / outdoor living 55% 53%
Rainwater catchment 52% 48%
Exterior / security lighting 35% 33%

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q1 2013 (any score above 50 is positive)

• Billings: 67

• Inquiries for new projects: 74

Baker added, “With business conditions at residential architecture firms at the strongest growth level since 2005, this is a very encouraging sign for the housing sector and broader economy in general, especially when you look at the year-over-year improvement in the marketplace.”

Specific residential segments* 2013 2012
Kitchen and bath remodeling 63 53
Remodeling additions / alterations 63 51
Custom / luxury home market 16 -2
Move-up homes 32 -3
First-time buyer / affordable home market 21 -7
Townhouse / condo market 7 -17
Second / vacation home market -15 -36

* Index score computed as % of respondents reporting improving minus % reporting weakening conditions

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