What’s Hot and What’s Not in New Homes?

Dennis Norman

Less Is More

Over the past decade or so it seems everything has gotten “super-sized” to the point of absurdity in my opinion. Therefore I find it refreshing to see that, according to the “Home Trends 2010” report by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council, home buyers are scaling down both in size and in features.  Perhaps the past couple of years has humbled many of us and given us a different perspective on materialistic things?

Anyway, before I go off on  a tangent, here are highlights from the Home Trends report:

  • The average size of new single family homes decreased in 2009 after being flat in 2008.
  • Homes built with at least 3 bedrooms decreased in 2009 for the first-time since 1992 (I guess more and more of my fellow baby-boomers are becoming empty nesters?)
  • Homes built with 4 or more bedrooms has been falling since 2007.
  • Homes with two or more stories peaked in 2006, then began a downward trend.

The ten most likely features that builders will include in a new homes:

  • Walk-in-closet in master bedroom
  • Laundry Room
  • Insulated front door
  • Great Room
  • Low-e windows
  • Linen Closet
  • Programmable thermostat
  • Energy efficient appliances and lighting
  • Separate shower and tub in master bedroom
  • 9-foot ceilings or higher on 1st floor

New homes are no doubt being built with affordability and efficiency in mind.  Nonetheless buyers seem unwilling to give up master bedroom suites with nice master baths, although some of the “super-size” stuff is gone, such as multiple shower heads.  What else is getting cut?  According to the report, builders say that an outdoor kitchen is the first to go as well as outdoor fireplaces, sun-room, butlers pantry and a media room.

So, I wonder what is going to happen to all those “McMansions” that were built during the last decade as us baby boomers age, become empty-nesters and don’t need the space?  Hmm…not so sure the X’rs and Y’rs are going to super-size their space.


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