Improved housing market leading to larger home sizes


As the struggling housing market shows signs of improvement, there has been a reversal in the 6-year trend in smaller home sizes.  This is the case for custom and luxury homes, as well as for additions to existing homes.  A preference for outdoor living, especially blended indoor/outdoor living, continues to increase, along with strong demand for accessible and flexible home layout.

Led by strength in remodeling and renovation projects, business conditions for residential architects are experiencing the strongest growth since 2006.  These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the first quarter of 2012 that focused specifically on overall home layout and the use of interior and exterior space.

In the last few years, outdoor living spaces have become the new ‘great room’ in terms of must have items for homeowners,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.  “As people are more interested in adapting their property to their long-term needs rather than readying it for sale, we are seeing more attention paid to landscaping and features that have some return-on-investment like rainwater catchment systems.”

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q1 2012 (any score above 50 is positive)

      • Billings: 56
      • Inquiries for new projects: 64

Baker continued, “These conditions are not only significantly stronger than just last quarter, but also  over the past year.  We aren’t close to pre-housing market bust levels of design activity, but all housing sectors are performing at vastly higher levels than recent years, and billings are likely to accelerate in the months ahead.

The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector.  Residential architects are design leaders in shaping how homes function, look, and integrate into communities and this survey helps to identify emerging trends in the housing marketplace.  Business conditions are also monitored on a quarterly basis.  Read More.


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