Location, location, location is the mantra familiar to every real estate agent, developer, builder, and prospective homebuyer. In today’s more mobile society, however, location is no longer all that matters. Nor are size and status.
Whether millennials or baby boomers, buyers are looking for homes that support their changing lifestyles and reflect their values. Home design is morphing to meet their demands.
For many of today’s homebuyers, getting more for their dollar no longer equates to a grander home or a bigger lot, but to a better designed home. In their different ways, millennials and baby boomers are downsizing, reducing their consumption of consumer goods, and opting for a simpler, less material lifestyle. They want houses that are easy to maintain, with lots of storage to keep spaces open and clutter-free.
The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) latest Home Design Trends Survey, for the third quarter of 2015, reveals increased buyer preferences for more contemporary home styles, smaller homes with better styling, single-story homes, and simpler exteriors — each up 7 percent from the same period in 2014. The trend toward smaller, better-designed homes also appears in the AIA’s prediction of 10 major residential design trends for the next 10 years, based on a survey of 500 residential architects.
Better designed also means improved functionality. The AIA predicts demand will continue for modifications to allow aging in place, such as wider hallways and one-story living, as well as implementation of universal design principles.
Millennials especially are looking for seamless integration of wireless systems and smart technology. A survey conducted by Better Homes and Gardens found “members of this generation view technology as a way to customize living spaces to fit their needs.” Three-fourths said smart home technology made their home safer, and two-thirds think smart technology makes their home healthier.
Both the AIA and Better Homes and Gardens surveys indicate home offices and workspaces will become standard features in most homes, reflecting changing work patterns, and they will need to be supported with the latest mobile technology.
Buyers have also become more conscientious about environmental sustainability, resilience, and health. They want homes that consume less energy and water, can withstand natural disasters, and support their values with products and materials that are socially and environmentally responsible. That means eco and animal-friendly homes sourced from manufacturers and suppliers that do not use abusive or child labor practices.
The AIA reports “increased consumer awareness about environmental health issues [is] leading to more widespread use of low or no volatile organic compounds for paint and composite wood, natural fiber upholstery, carpets without polyvinyl chloride backing, and air purification systems.”
As technology consumes more of their time and invades every area of their lives, homeowners also want their home to be a haven where they can relax and spend time with family and friends. They are seeking a greater connection to nature, opting for more natural materials, such as wood and stone, daylighting, nature views and landscaping, water features, and a more harmonious flow between indoor and outdoor spaces.
Those outdoor spaces are becoming more elaborate. Construction Drive reports outdoor space was one of the most buzzed-about areas during IBS: “Experts said outdoor spaces have become almost as important as the interior of the home, as owners look for a relaxing area where they can socialize and de-stress.” In addition to outdoor kitchens and entertainment areas, this emerging trend often includes outdoor fireplaces or pits and a small seating area.
Instead of “location, location, location,” today’s homebuyer mantra would seem to be “more with less.” Like the smartphones that have become the focal point of their lives, these buyers are looking for homes that are more compact but fully featured, well designed and functional, with the right mix of amenities and minimal maintenance — a home that reflects their social values and their good taste.
About the Author
Michael J. Berens is a freelance researcher and writer with more than 30 years of experience in association communication and management. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was provide by Multibriefs.