AIA Introduces Home Design Trends Survey Results
Greater Demand for Accessibility, Informal Space; Healthy Housing Market Among Key Findings
Last month the American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced the results of its first-ever Home Design Trends Survey. Reflective of an aging population and the “baby boomer” generation approaching retirement, the survey results highlight an increasing demand for greater accessibility and single-floor design which promotes easier mobility within the home. Fueled by a strong housing market, architecture firms working in the residential sector have reported favorable business conditions; with 44% of respondents indicating that their overall billings increased by more than 5% in the first quarter of 2005, while only 10% reported declines in billings from the fourth quarter of 2004.
“Our data demonstrates that the remodeling market, for both additions/alterations and kitchen/bath renovations, were the strongest sectors in the residential market for the first quarter of 2005,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Additionally, the condominium and town house market was nearly as strong, with over half of firms reporting improving conditions for these units. We have found that the primary drivers in this particular market are young adults and empty-nesters who are interested in moving into urban neighborhoods.”
Click here for the full report: www.aia.org/econ_designsurvey_results.
Baker also stated that, “There has been a significant shift in consumer preference from formal living and dining rooms towards more ‘informal spaces’ featuring an open space layout of family rooms, dens, and activity rooms.”
Key residential design trend findings:
- Accessibility: 62% of firms reported that homes are becoming more accessible with features such as wider hallways, fewer steps, and the growing popularity of single-floor design
- Informal space: 66% of firms reported that “informal space” is increasing, along with a trend towards an open space layout in the home
- Home size: 40% of firms reported square footage of homes is still increasing, while only 13% report declines
- Home layout: 49% of firms reported that finished basements and attics are increasing in popularity, as owners of older homes are looking to increase their living space
- Outdoors: 48% of firms reported upscale landscaping is on the increase, as is the popularity of outdoor living space with features such as decks, porches, and patios
- Amenities: 30% of firms reported the increase in other outdoor amenities including swimming pools, tennis courts, and gazebos
Firms in all regions reported positive business conditions, with those in the South experiencing the greatest gains and those in the Midwest lagging behind the other regions. Another contributing factor to the continued health of the housing market is the backlog of projects that firms have reported. The average project backlog of work under contract necessary to keep an entire staff fully employed is five to five and one-half months. This figure is especially significant due to the relatively short design period and tight schedules of many residential projects.
The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of 600 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector. Future surveys will cover home features (special function rooms and special features in homes), emerging design trends (design of communities, use of technology in the home, new residential products), and kitchen and bath features and products.
For more information about the American Institute of Architects visit their Web site at www.aia.org.
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