Industry professionals must be willing to incorporate new techniques and offerings to interest home buyers.
By Sophia Acevedo
Thus far into the new year the housing market has been fairly consistent — mortgage rates remain under 3%, new-home sales remain higher than a year ago, and home builder confidence has kept near historic highs.
It’s good news overall for the industry. However, while the housing market may be doing well at the moment, other areas in housing can be looked at to reflect current needs.
It’s close to a year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the home has been heavily impacted because of it. Thankfully, research regarding US consumers has occurred extensively over the last couple of months, showing a clearer vision of the long-term impacts of the pandemic.
Using this information, industry professionals must keep a forward-looking perspective, implementing new ideas that reflect what the future of home building and design should look like.
Revitalizing the Home
The America At Home Study, started by Marketing Expert of tst ink Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki, Strategic Solutions Alliance Consumer Strategist Belinda Sward, and President and CEO of Dahlin Group Nancy Keenan, looks at how the pandemic impacts the future home and community design.
The first study was done in April 2020 and the second was repeated in October/November. Notable features such as wellness, technology, and better equipped kitchens were listed as highly desirable features in the study.
As Slavik-Tsuyuki and Keenan point out in their article regarding the study on page 24, “The second wave of the study confirms that people are committed to making permanent changes to their homes to adapt to the lifestyle of spending more time at home.”
For housing to continue to thrive innovatively, fresh ideas are needed during these changing times to tackle areas in the home that have to be improved.
Industry professionals have to translate some larger concepts such as wellness and technology, and turn them into noticeable features that will improve the quality of life at home.
For instance, wellness may turn into a focus on indoor air quality or a designed front porch nook. Meanwhile, a focus on technology may result in voice-activated lighting or energy-efficient speakers for the shower.
Loving the Suburb Lifestyle
According to an article from Realtor.com, as the COVID-19 vaccine is deployed in stages across the country, one trend that will continue from the previous year is the flight to the suburbs.
“Single-family homes in the suburbs will clearly be favored over the condominiums in downtown, city centers,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors in the article. “People may seek out more distant suburbs.”
Furthermore, towns and smaller cities that weren’t typically on the radar may become more appealing due to affordable pricing and the ability to work from home.
Location will be an important factor for homebuilding in the coming year. As people seek more space, suburbs and master-planned communities will provide the comfort and size that many are looking for.
Builders and developers will have the unique challenge of making sure that not only the home meets a home buyers’ needs but that the community as well. Outdoor features are just as important as indoor features, so ideas that include outdoor amenities can serve as a distinguishing factor that could be appealing to consumers.
Additional steps in the building process may be another option. Builders may develop additional offerings that make their homes unique, such as taking extra steps in the building process to get a green certification by the U.S. Green Building Council or RESNET .
Interchanging Ideas Leads to Solutions
Discovering new ideas does not have to be something one does alone. It’s the sharing of market research and news that can allow for builders, architects and more to not only thrive, but to present a unified perspective across the board that could result in substantial changes in the home.
This month, two of the industry’s biggest conference events, the National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders’ Show (IBSx) and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show by the National Kitchen + Bath Association, will be held virtually. Hence, from the comfort of one’s home, there is an opportunity to learn and discuss freely about new trends and ideas happening in the industry.
Ultimately, homes will need to continue to undergo noticeable changes in the next year as we begin to better understand some of the long-term effects of the pandemic. Rather than slow down, now is the time to issue bold fresh ideas to make sure your project is the one that stands out.
Sophia Acevedo is the assistant editor at Builder and Developer Magazine. She can be reached at email@example.com.