Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Evolution of the American Home

How has the typical American home evolved over the last fifty years? Robert Dietz, the chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders recently spoke with Real Estate Today Radio about home design trends that have come and gone, and those that will be here to stay.
While buyers both then and now prefer single-family homes in the suburbs, buyers in 2016 expect new homes to be adaptable, open, and efficient.

When it comes to future design preferences, Dietz predicts that buyers will place a high-importance on choosing a new home that has efficient design and energy efficient features. "Energy efficiency is the key item with new construction over existing-homes is the home itself uses energy more efficiently, costs less to maintain and operate."

Dietz also believes that location will play a larger part in where buyers choose to build, and single-family home sales will soon take over multi-family. "We may see a rise in townhomes and locations near urban villages with walkability features, but overall the same preferences that have been in the market for generations will remain. Most people want to own their own home and want their own place out in the suburbs, and I think that will continue."

Let's take a look at the main design differences between homes then and now.

New-home design characteristics in 1966:
  • The average home size was much smaller than today.
  • The one-story homes were popular with builders and buyers.
  • The kitchen, dining room, and living rooms were all separate.
  • Laundry rooms were located in the basement.
  • The efficiency of home features was not a big consideration.

New-home design characteristics in 2016:
  • The average size of the home keeps growing, mainly because builders are catering to a higher-income, older demographic.
  • 60 percent of new homes have at least two stories. The need for multiple levels is due to millennials wanting more space for their growing families, and also because of the increase in multi-generational households.
  • Open-floor design is the new norm across all generations of buyers.
  • New home construction emphasizes energy efficiency and efficient design.
  • Laundry rooms are typically located on the home's main level.
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