The subject of this month’s newsletter is about trends in new home construction. We have chosen to take a liberal view of what these trends are, recognizing that there are regional trends, as well as national trends and that there are many opinions, as well, in the industry. We must remember that what it really comes down to is what the new home owner really desires and is willing to pay for that drives some of these new trends in housing construction.
There are trends in several different areas concerning home construction, and we have chosen to discuss these within the following broad categories:
- Energy Conservation
- Interior Design
- Comfort and Maintenance
As usual, we will provide a number of links that will provide you with additional information concerning these trends and information about some of the techniques, appliances and designs on which you may want additional information.
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While this is not really a new trend, it is a continuation of a long-term building trend. Selecting the right location for your new home continues to be the number one trend with which most people must concern themselves. Location is all about the orientation of your home, on your lot, in the neighborhood that you are going to be in, proximity to services that match your current life style needs, to regions or states that you would prefer to live in. Parents with young families want to be close to schools and shopping, while retiree’s are beginning to look at condominiums that are close to shopping and in warmer climates.
Whatever your personal situation is, you may want to give some thought as to what your needs will be in the next few years, relative to the location in which you chose to build your new home. Gated communities, houses with backyards facing south or west to maximize the sun exposure, proximity to golf courses, shopping and restaurants are just a few of the items that you look at when finalizing the location were you would like to build your new home.
Some useful links to check out
Real Estate Location – Location
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Design and Construction Trends
More and more, women are being recognized as the final decision makers regarding new home design and construction. Translated, this can mean more storage space in bedrooms, an oversized garage, larger laundry rooms, security systems and a higher quality of construction; while men are looking for things such as larger garages as well, home theater systems, space for large screen TV’s and separate shower stalls and tubs.
Builders and engineers are becoming increasingly aware of other factors that new home owners are looking for. At the core of these trends are safety and energy conservation, both in manufacture and construction activities, as well as being resistant to storms, earthquakes, and fire. Designs that take into account the health needs of consumers and decrease the use of materials that leak gases after the home has been completed and can literally make you sick. Other interesting trends are flexible floor plans, access by older consumers who want to avoid climbing stairs, etc., outdoor rooms, more storage and the utilization of some eastern beliefs such as Feng Shui and others are becoming recognized by builders and consumers alike.
Technology is making its way more and more into the home and to be more effective, it is best to take into consideration the design of the home before it is build. The truly wired home incorporating security systems with video pickups, as well as sound, music systems with surround sound, home theaters, homes fully wired for phone, cable and satellite TV options and high speed data are becoming common. Controls that allow you to close the drapes to accessing your homes security system remotely are also being added.
Finally, regional trends are also a significant factor and continue to affect trends in various parts of the country.
Useful Web Links
Top 10 Designs in Home Trends
Home Building Trends
Wiring Your Home for the Net
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Energy conservation is becoming more and more important in the minds of many consumers who are contemplating the design and construction of a new home. Consumers are concerned not only about the cost of the material and the effect they have on energy from a manufacturing perspective, but, they are also concerned about ongoing operational costs, such as when the cost of heating and cooling of their homes increases. Choices of appliances, orientation of your home on the property, shade and well-insulated homes are all part of this trend.
Our report “Home Energy Report” may be of interest to many consumers who are planning to build a new home. In addition, you may also be interested in reading our “Home Energy Checklist” report that can assist you in selecting many solutions that will help you manage your energy costs in your new home.
More and more people are looking at combinations of solar power, wind power and energy conservation solutions. This trend is spurred on by the current significant increases in the cost of energy, and we think that this will turn into a more significant long-term trend than it currently is. Home builders are routinely advertising the Energy Design Factors included in their new homes. Increased levels of insulation, dual glazed windows, meeting State sponsored energy efficiency codes and designing large homes with dual zone programmable heating and cooling thermostats are examples of this emerging trend.
Useful Web Links
Home Energy Checklist and Report
Green Power Switch – Tennessee Valley Authority
California Energy Commission
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Interior Design Trends
This is one of the most difficult areas to forecast the trends in new home construction. The interior design of homes is a combination of very personal taste and current trends that are popular within the industry. Gourmet kitchens with granite countertops, wood cabinets, and large spacious master suites, with luxurious bathrooms are among the current trends. Many new condominiums are being built with the above amenities and consumers are grabbing them quickly as investments and also as retirement homes. We included one condo as an example in our useful web links to illustrate.
One of the trends we are beginning to notice, particularly as the baby boomers age is a trend towards homes that, above all else, are comfortable and have modern conveniences. As we age, it is said that people require more and more light to be able to see. Modern homes being built today are beginning to take this into account. Solutions such as under cabinet lights in kitchens, dimmer switches in other rooms, adding recessed lights and track lighting in strategic locations are all part of the solutions that are increasingly being utilized.
Distinguished designs, solid furniture, fireplaces, quality cabinetry, French doors, lots of storage space, storage cabinetry in garage, Travertine-marble-granite flooring, energy efficient high-end appliances, and lots of natural light from high r-value windows are among the trends in interior design.
Useful Web Links
Interior Design Trends
Typical Condo Interior Design
Lighting Your Life
Example Home Design
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Comfort and Maintenance
Another area that is receiving a lot of attention from builders, architects and new homeowners are the combined needs of comfort and low maintenance homes.
Low maintenance Homes
Low maintenance homes begins with the outside and include such items as maintenance-free windows, siding that does not require any kind of annual washing, painting or other activities and even protection of your eaves trough to avoid leaves and other debris filling them.
Interior designs are evolving, as well being driven by the need to avoid significant maintenance needs. Hardwood floors, marble or travertine surfaces, are just two examples of a move away from carpet and other materials to reduce maintenance needs.
Single level homes to reduce the amount of stairs to climb, central vacuums, floor level dusters, remote monitoring services for security that allows the owner to check in remotely and view his home, condominiums with all services provided, kitchens that double as entertaining as well as traditional kitchens, bathrooms with character, lots of stone and marble, specialized rooms that allow people to work at home in comfort and avoid those expensive long commutes are just a few of the trends that we have identified through our searches on the internet.
We have included one web site, which outlines the top 10 trends that have been currently identified by one of the sites that have been listed in our useful links section. We have also included a link that identifies the items that the emerging baby boomer market will require. Homes for baby boomers appear to be emerging as a major trend driver for new home construction. These include such items as: mobility needs with open floor plans, homes that are bright and airy, adequate dining space for entertaining family and friends, rooms for a den-sewing or other specialized room, a one story retirement home, ample clearance in the master bedroom and the master bath for wheel chairs or limited mobility issues, easy to reach kitchen appliances, front-loading washers and dryers, entrances that will accommodate wheel chairs and limited mobility owners and wide garages for more space.
Useful Web Links
Low Maintenance Exteriors
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Readers should take advantage of the information that is available in this newsletter, along with the useful links we provided and use this information in the context of their own personal objectives, life style and needs for their personal lives. Trends applicable to new families with young children will be much different that those trends that appear to be developing driven by the aging baby boomer population.
There are some common themes, however, and these appear to be comfortable, low maintenance, energy efficient, enhanced communications with décor that allows for long lasting and odor free materials. Consumers are recognizing, more and more, the value of using materials that have a low release level of gas and other particles in their homes, that can affect your health. Energy generation through residential wind turbines or solar panels may be a new trend that is emerging.
Finally, designing and building your dream home is always a very personal thing; however, consumers are well advised to also include some of these emerging trends to enhance resale values.
Thought For The Day
"Arguments might make you win situations, but not hearts. So next time you indulge in them, before going any further just ask yourself - what is more impartant, the situation or the person?" - Anonymous
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