Decrease in Home Sizes, Lots Nearing Bottom

Washington, D.C. – The collapse of the housing market resulted in greater interest in smaller homes and lot sizes, but that appears to be leveling off. There continues to be interest from homeowners in investing in their properties, particularly with regards to outdoor living space.  Accessibility within the home remains a concern, especially for an aging population, along with ongoing demand for more flexible and open design within homes.  Business conditions for residential architects are showing improving conditions with the highest billings score since mid-2007.  These findings are from the American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey that focused specifically on overall home layout and use in the first quarter of 2011.

“Overall home and lots sizes showing signs of increasing slightly indicates that the housing market is stabilizing after being in a downward spiral since 2007,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.  “But consistent with the last several years, there remains a preference for open space layout allowing for more flexibility and less interest in formal spaces and rooms.” 

Overall home layout and size trends

Residential elements (% of respondents that reported decreases)   

2011      

2010

Square footage                

52%       

57%

Lot size                                

22%       

32%

Volume                                               

18%       

21%

 

Residential elements (% of respondents that reported increases)               

2011      

2010

In-home accessibility                                                     

58%       

60%

Open space layout                                                                         

49%       

56%

Access into / out of home                                                           

48%       

49%

Informal space                                                                 

40%       

48%

Single-floor plan                                                                              

35%       

40%

Lot size                                

22%       

32%

 

Outdoor living and landscaping trends

Residential elements (% of respondents that reported increases)               

2011                 

2010

Low irrigation landscaping

63%

63%

Outdoor living space

60%

56%

Rainwater catchment

49%

55%

Blended indoor / outdoor living

46%

48%

Exterior / security lighting

30%

33%

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q1 2011 (any score above 50 is positive)

·         Billings: 51

·         Inquiries for new projects: 60

Baker continued, “The home improvement market, including both additions and structural alterations as well as remodeling projects, is extremely healthy right now and with the exception of the affordable home market, all of the other sectors are more positive than the same time a year ago.”

Specific residential segments (index score computed as % of respondents reporting improving minus % reporting weakening conditions)

·         Kitchen and bath remodeling: 52

·         Additions / alterations: 51

·         First-time buyer / affordable home market: -22

·         Move-up home market: -16

·         Custom / luxury home market: -19 

·         Townhouse / condo market: -34

·         Second / vacation home market: -51

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