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Key Home Design Trends

Kermit Baker, Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, gave a presentation ‘The Changing Homebuyer and the Changing Face of Home Design’ at the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate Conference in October. According to JCHS, the total new housing demand is projected to average 1.7 – 1.8 million units per year over the coming decade.

And according to The American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey, for the first time since 2005, all construction segments are reported as improving. Home sizes continue to trend up, with the concentration being in upper- end, particularly seen in remodels and additions. Special function rooms are returning, with outdoor living topping the list. Accessibility is also a key design concern as well as home automation. With features like extra insulation in the attic, homes accommodating multiple generations, ramps and elevators being installed and easy-to-use features, homes are becoming smarter with more functionality. Wireless systems, energy management, solar panels and back- up power generators are in the lead as favorites. Also growing in popularity is sustainable design. Homeowners want low-maintenance and energy efficient homes. LED lighting takes the cake in the quest for most sustainable products, with smart thermostats coming in second.

In summary, fundamental housing shifts are occurring, most obvious is that our population is aging. The housing market is in the midst of a cyclical recovery, but still has a ways to go. Home design trends favor accessibility, sustainability and greater use of home automation. And lastly, serving the upper-end market over the coming years presents challenges, but offers opportunities.

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