Cities Are Dictating Design
- More and more cities are dictating what can and cannot be built by establishing their own design guidelines and requiring more approvals to meet these guidelines. This is forcing the industry to seek authentic design styles. The situation is also challenging to builders — particularly small builders — who create one prototype to be used in several cities. Because guidelines are becoming city-specific, builders are being forced to create different plans for different markets and can no longer mass-produce the same home in different markets.
What’s Up in the Midwest?
- The residential market in the Midwest is sophisticated. While buyers there appear to be comfortable purchasing homes in suburban communities, they are being offered more types of community choices. One choice gaining in popularity as an alternative to larger, more traditional communities are small enclave communities — with between 25 and 55 houses.
Getting Aggressive With Revitalization
- More than 40 states have cut development funding, which is having an impact on business in the cities and the suburbs. This appears to be spurring development and revitalization in areas just outside of cities — “second ring” areas such as close-in urban/suburban communities like Arlington, VA, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.
- Cities with strong mayors seem to be leading the way in making urban revitalization possible.
- Smaller towns are becoming more aggressive with their own revitalization efforts, which is great news and good business for local builders, architects and contractors.
Less Grandeur at the Front Door
- Buyers still desire a nice entry, but not necessarily a ceremonial one.
- There is an evident trend to eliminate the large entry/foyer/staircase area, partly because of where the garage is now being placed.
- Buyers are also seeking a second entry — a “friends” entry — in the area between the garage and the living room.
Other Buyer Preferences
For more information about the NAHB Design Committee, click here, or e-mail Michelle Persinger Matuga.