New Home Design Trends for 2011

What are homebuyers looking for today?  The answer is a mixed picture and, as expected, varies depending on the local market.  Some new trends are emerging, according to a survey of nearly 10,000 potential homebuyers conducted in October 2010 by John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

Homebuyers want their homes to come equipped with the newest technology.  Most often they will find this available in the new home market.  This trend will make it difficult for sellers of existing homes and foreclosures unless they are willing to remodel to include high-tech features.

Homebuyers surveyed indicated they want the following features and were willing to pay extra to get them

  • Dark cabinetry
  • A separate tub and shower in the Master Bath
  • A fireplace in a Living Room rather than in a Family Room
  • Homes with an indoor / outdoor connection
  • Storage, storage, storage … Big box shopping means walk-in Pantries.  Walk-in closets with fully equipped closet systems.

Potential homebuyers also were looking for:

  • Bigger secondary bedrooms
  • An open space concept for the basic layout – this was especially true for warm weather climates
  • A large single living area, the Kitchen, Dining and Living areas combined into a single Great Room, was preferred over traditional, separate formal rooms

What motivates homebuyers?  What are they actually buying or not buying?

  • Buyers are looking for smaller homes with less rooms, but they want those rooms larger
  • Universal design has not caught on. The ‘look’ is viewed as a negative and not flexible enough.  An ageing-in-place strategy seems to be a better solution
  • Buyers move because of a change in life: marriage, divorce, children moving from the family home, a death in the family or retirement.
  • New home buyers are looking for low maintenance features
  • Dual master bedrooms are an important feature for multi-generational homes, which in itself is a growing trend
  • Buyers expect green, but also expect it will save them money on a monthly basis (think energy savings and paybacks)
  • Granite continues to be the countertop material of choice
  • Private outdoor living, with both covered and open areas is a trend that started several years ago and continues even stronger now, especially with overall home square footage trending lower.  This outdoor living trend works for all parts of the country. Adding an outdoor fireplace allows 9 month usage in even the coldest climates.

Many of the features these homebuyers were looking for are not available in the re-sale market. Savvy homeowners looking to sell their existing homes should consider remodeling to incorporate some of these features.

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