Designing Homes Based on Buyer Demands

Recent home market trends have lowered home prices but encouraged homebuilder creativity to meet new buyer demands

By BRIANNA FRIES

As we officially shift into the latter half of the year of 2019, and into the summertime when homebuying and selling ramp up, it can be beneficial to take a look at what trends have become prominent in the homebuilding industry. It helps to observe what design trends have thrived despite market ups and downs, whether it is a unique floor plan or an interesting approach to interior (and exterior) design.

As we started taking note of in 2018, homes are being built to match the lifestyle of the current homebuyers. This means that active adult communities are seeking to meet the needs of the Baby Boomer generation, while other markets (first-time, move-up, etc.) are tackling the increasing demands of my own generation of Millennials and the soon-to-come Gen-Z.

So what does this mean for the homebuilding market as a whole? To observe the way that these groups are influencing homebuilding, we have to start with how their buying patterns, or lack thereof, has affected the market first.

In short, homebuying has decreased a it. Boomers are not moving down the way previous seniors have, and millennials are still struggling to get our funds in order to buy homes. This led to a decrease in the price of a home and in mortgage rates in earlier months, though at this point, prices are starting to rise again – albeit at a much slower rate than before.

However, these lower rates of buying are not all bad. As I have mentioned before, challenge breeds creativity and, as always, our nation’s builders have stepped up to the plate to brainstorm some impressive solutions that encourage continued homebuying.

New forms of floor planning

Floor plans are always one of the biggest details of a home. They literally make the home, after all. What we have noticed is that floor plans have changed from the layouts that many people are familiar with. Sprawling, single-story ranch floor plans seek to meet the needs and wants of not only Boomers but also their millennial children who may be looking for multi-gen living as an alternative to senior housing for their parents.

Alternatively, there are more builders that are trying to make the most of a smaller land lot, meaning they are building smaller and/ or taller. This means more homes being built with three or even four stories, along with homes that are just being built smaller than before. After all, it has been noted that the next generation of buyers, even those who can throw their hat into the luxury housing ring, do not want bigger homes, but rather homes that make the most of less space.

Designing for indoors and outdoors together

Even when a buyer wants a smaller home, that does not necessarily mean they want a home that does not give them the option to be outside. Science has shown us that being outdoors is beneficial to our health and buyers and builders alike have taken note.

Indoor/outdoor living is the name of the game now. Buyers want seamless transitions between their indoor and outdoor living spaces, whether in the form of a lot of window area or large glass doors. The outdoor spaces should also be designed to be as much of a space for regular daily life as the indoors, meaning the presence of kitchen appliances, power outlets, and more have become a must.

An emphasis on green and healthy homes

Alongside new floor plans and home designs that emphasize indoor/outdoor living, the last and likely the largest trend that is influencing the home market is the desire to live in homes that are sustainable and healthy all at once. While indoor/outdoor living does help the effort for improved health, buyer demands do not stop here.

When buyers look for a green and healthy home, they are going to hunt for a house that has been made with materials that will not hurt them and includes sustainability measures starting at groundbreaking and ending with the choice of appliances.

The interesting part about this particular trend is not only that it is consistently growing, but also that it is often the thing that can encourage buyers to justify spending more initially than they might have planned to (if educated properly about the sustainability measures of course).

These are just some of the trends that have emerged from our ever-changing home market. Whether the prevalence of these trends is enough to combat the struggling home prices or the rumors of recession that some industry professionals are predicting remains to be seen.

However, trends like these have created some stand-out homes that are helping improve peoples’ health, encourage wary buyers to move, and further efforts at greener lifestyles.

Brianna Fries is the Editor for Builder and Developer Magazine. She can be reached at brianna@penpubinc.com

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