Builders/Remodelers Busiest Since 2005; Homeowner Tastes Evolve

by devteam June 15th, 2013 | Share

The American Institute of Architectsrn(AIA) is seeing an improving market reflected in the size andrnamenities Americans now expect in both new homes and when theyrnremodel. The Institute also says that responses to its Home DesignrnTrends Survey for the first quarter of 2013 indicate that memberrnfirms involved in residential work are seeing their strongest growthrnlevels since the economic downturn began.</p

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q1rn2013 said that respondents reported that business conditions arernstrengthening with scores of 67 for billings and 74 for new projectsrnwhere any score above 50 is positive. AIA Chief Economist KermitrnBaker said, “With business conditions at residential architecturernfirms at the strongest growth level since 2005, this is a veryrnencouraging sign for the housing sector and broader economy inrngeneral, especially when you look at the year-over-year improvementrnin the marketplace.”</p

Increasing sizes in homes are reflectedrnby an increase in the homes volume and square footage. Twenty-fourrnpercent of survey respondents reported seeing increasing trends inrnthe former and 12 percent in the latter compared to 20 percent and 8rnpercent in 2012. While only 3 percent reported that preference forrnlarger lot sizes had increased compared to 5 percent last year,rncustomers appear focused on the features they put into that outdoorrnspace and their environmental impact. </p

In addition to larger homes andrnadditions, homeowners are showing a preference for accessible spaces in homes, that is open-space layoutsrnand single-floor designs. Sixty-four percent of respondents saidrntheir had been an increase in the trend toward in-home accessibility,rn56 percent noted an increase in preference for open space layouts, 46rnpercent for a single floor plan, and 55 percent for ease of access inrnand out of the home. All of these numbers were up or unchanged fromrnthe previous survey.</p

“We’ve seen over the past fewrnyears, an increased interest in seamlessly blending indoor andrnoutdoor spaces and building in more informal spaces into homes,”rnBaker said. “Because lot sizes don’t show any signs ofrnincreasing, it’s clear that homeowners want to maximize theirrncurrent square footage to its highest potential, as opposed tornincreasing it.”</p

Sixty-one percent of respondentsrnreported a trend toward low irrigation landscaping and 63 percentrnoutdoor living space (both down slightly from last year), 55 percentrnreported increasing interest in blended indoor/outdoor living, 52rnpercent rainwater catchment and 35 percent exterior or securityrnlighting.</p

The Survey Design Index is computed byrnsubtracting the percentage of respondents reporting a worseningrnmarket from those reporting an improving one. Member firmsrnperceptions about most residential segments of their markets improvedrnfrom 2012 numbers. Kitchen and bath remodeling increased from 53 torn65 and remodeling/additions/alternations from 51 to 63. The indexrnnumber for the custom/luxury home market improved from -2 to 16 andrnmove-up homes from -3 to 32. The first time buyer/affordable marketrnmoved from -7 to 21, and the townhouse condo market form -17 to 7, Only the index for second homes bucked the trend, falling from -15rnlast year to -36.</p

AIA’s survey is conducted quarterlyrnamong a panel of more than 500 architectural firms that concentraterntheir practice in the residential sector. Business conditions arernalso monitored on a quarterly basis.

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About the Author


Steven A Feinberg (@CPAsteve) of Appletree Business Services LLC, is a PASBA member accountant located in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

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