U.S. homeowners want infill locations, amenities, entertainment

Washington, D.C. – December 17, 2012 – A combination of housing market conditions, changing lifestyle preferences and shifting demographics has led to a re-shaping of our communities in recent years.  There has been a move away from automotive-centric locations, along with a strong desire for households to have employment and entertainment options in closer proximity to where they live.  There has also been a preference for lower maintenance and more energy-efficient properties.

Residential architecture firms across the country are reporting improving business conditions, with remodeling activity leading the way followed by some segments of new construction also seeing growth.  These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the third quarter of 2012 that focused on community and neighborhood design.

“In many areas, we are seeing more interest in urban infill locations than in remote exurbs, which is having a pronounced shift in neighborhood design elements,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “And regardless of city or suburban dwellers, people are asking more from their communities in terms of access to public transit, walkable areas and close proximity to job centers, retail options and open space.”

AIA Home Design Trends Survey highlights

Community design elements                   

2012

2011

Infill development

64%

65%

Access to public transportation

59%

47%

Multi-generational housing

50%

44%

Higher density development

50%

38%

Mixed-use developments

45%

37%

Community gardens

41%

n/a

Dedicated open space

40%

33%

 

Popular Home Exteriors Features

2012

2011

Low maintenance exterior materials

70%

68%

Front porches

41%    

40%

Sustainable roofing 

29%

23%

Windows (number and size) 

24%

19%

Contemporary design

23%    

10%    

Single story homes

17%    

24%

(% respond. report. popularity of feature “increasing” minus % report. “decreasing”; Q3)

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q3 2012 (any score above 50 is positive)

  • Billings: 55
  • Inquiries for new projects: 62 

Baker noted, “The market for remodeling and alteration projects has been quite strong going back several quarters, but it is encouraging to see positive business conditions for both the move-up and first-time buyer sectors.”
 

Specific construction segments

2012 

2011

Additions / alterations  

58%    

35%

Kitchen and bath remodeling

51%    

37%

Move-up home market

8%      

-36%

First-time buyer / affordable home market

5%      

-37%   

Custom / luxury home market

-0.8%

-27%

Townhouse / condo market

-8%

-35%

Second / vacation home

-39%   

-61%

(% of respondents reporting sector “improving” minus % reporting “weakening”; Q3)
 

About the AIA Home Design Trends Survey
The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of over 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.  Future surveys will focus on kitchen and bath trends (February 2013), overall home layout and use (June 2013), and specialty rooms and systems (September 2013).
 

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public well being.  Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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