Demand for Special Home Features Wane while Energy Conservation Options Remain Popular Print E-mail
Tuesday, 06 October 2009 10:21

In light of the downturn in the housing market and overall economy, homeowners are still adding energy-efficient options and low maintenance produces, while showing a lessened interest in special features such as home theaters, guest wings and three-car garages. Business conditions at residential architecture firms are stabilizing with the entry-level housing market showing a movement towards recovery.

These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the second quarter of 2009 that focused on emerging home features: systems, technologies and function rooms in the home.

“There has been a decrease in popularity for certain energy-efficient products or systems, but overall they continue to be in demand from homeowners,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “And reflecting the current economic conditions, we have also seen a significant drop in the investment in theaters, guest or kid wings, mud rooms and other specialty features.”

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AIA Home Design Trends Survey highlights

2009

2008

Home offices

43%

39%

Mud rooms

25%

32%

Hobby / game rooms

8%

8%

Au pair / in-law suites

7%

16%

Three or more car garages

-15%

-6%

Home theaters

-17%

-19%

(% respond. report. popularity of room “increasing” minus % report. “decreasing”; Q2:)

 

Products

2009

2008

Energy-efficient

80%

79%

Low maintenance

72%

70%

Tank-less water heaters

70%

88%

Water saving

62%

62%

“Green” flooring

59%

69%

Synthetic materials

59%

62%

Recycled materials

46%

60%

(% respond. report. popularity of products “increasing” minus % report. “decreasing”; Q2:)

Systems / technologies

2009

2008

Solar panels

55%

64%

Wireless systems

46%

49%

Geothermal heating / cooling

46%

48%

Energy management

40%

54%

Water reclamation

31%

41%

Air purification

19%

37%

(% reporting popularity of system “increasing” minus % reporting “decreasing”; Q2:)

Special home features

2009

2008

Alt. insulation (e.g. panels; foam)

68%

69%

Extra insulation

65%

68%

1st floor master bedroom

48%

n/a

Ramps / elevators

37%

43%

Easy-to-use features

36%

34%

Hurricane resistant design

28%

32%

(% reporting popularity of system “increasing” minus % reporting “decreasing”; Q2:2007)

Housing market business conditions

The extended slowdown in the housing market is showing signs of stabilizing with the residential billings index increasing almost 20 points over the past two quarters. The national billings index was 38 for the second quarter (any score below 50 indicates a decline in activity), up from the low mark of 24 the previous quarter. Inquiries for new projects also increased to a mark of 47 following a score of 35 in the first quarter of 2009.

 

Specific construction segments

2009

2008

Additions / alterations:

26%

26%

Kitchen and bath remodeling:

25%

22%

First-time buyer / affordable home market:

-13%

-46%

Move-up home market:

-35%

-44%

Custom / luxury home market:

-45%

-27%

Townhouse / condo market:

-49%

-49%

Second home:

-70%

-53%

(% of respondents reporting sector “improving” minus % reporting “weakening”; Q2)

More info and statistics on AIA's web site.


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