Best business conditions since 2007 for residential market Print
Thursday, 30 June 2011 07:36

The AIA's Home Design Trends Survey has noticed that the decrease in home sizes and lots is nearing bottom. While we rejoice at the residential market picking up, we hope the tendency that prevailed back in 2007 to supersize those 'Macmansions' will keep decreasing.

According to the survey, the collapse of the housing market resulted in greater interest in smaller homes and lot sizes, but that appears to be leveling off. There continues to be interest from homeowners in investing in their properties, particularly with regards to outdoor living space.  Accessibility within the home remains a concern, especially for an aging population, along with ongoing demand for more flexible and open design within homes.  Business conditions for residential architects are showing improving conditions with the highest billings score since mid-2007.  These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey that focused specifically on overall home layout and use in the first quarter of 2011.
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Edited by Lynda Waggoner


“Overall home and lots sizes showing signs of increasing slightly indicates that the housing market is stabilizing after being in a downward spiral since 2007,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.  “But consistent with the last several years, there remains a preference for open space layout allowing for more flexibility and less interest in formal spaces and rooms.”

Overall home layout and size trends

Residential elements (% of respondents that reported decreases)



Square footage


Lot size 22% 32%
Volume 18% 21%

Residential elements (% of respondents that reported increases)



In-home accessibility 58% 60%

Open space layout

49% 56%

Access into / out of home

48% 49%

Informal space

40% 48%

Single-floor plan

35% 40%

Lot size

22% 32%

Outdoor living and landscaping trends

Residential elements (% of respondents that reported increases)



Low irrigation landscaping 63% 63%
Outdoor living space 60% 56%
Rainwater catchment 49% 55%

Blended indoor / outdoor living

46% 48%

Exterior / security lighting

30% 33%

Specific residential segments (index score computed as % of respondents reporting improving minus % reporting weakening conditions)


·         Kitchen and bath remodeling: 52

·         Additions / alterations: 51

·         First-time buyer / affordable home market: -22

·         Move-up home market: -16

·         Custom / luxury home market: -19

·         Townhouse / condo market: -34

·         Second / vacation home market: -51