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Accessibility and Outdoor Property Improvements Top List of Popular Home Characteristics


WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 19, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — The residential market continues to improve with architects reporting an increase in demand for larger homes. Additionally, architects are seeing a greater interest in accessibility features as well as outdoor living space. These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the first quarter of 2014, which focuses specifically on overall home layout and the use of interior and exterior space.

“Facilitating greater accessibility into and around the home has become the dominant home layout consideration,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “With home sizes increasing only modestly, households are investing more attention in exterior and property improvements.”

Overall home layout and size trends

Residential elements (% of respondents that reported increases) 2014 2013
In-home accessibility 65% 64%
Access in/out of home 55% 55%
Informal space 52% 60%
Open space layout 50% 56%
Single-floor plan 47% 46%
Volume 28% 24%
Square footage 15% 12%
Lot size 3% 3%

Outdoor living and landscaping trends

Residential elements (% of respondents that reported increases) 2014 2013
Outdoor living space 69% 63%
Low irrigation landscaping 60% 61%
Blended indoor / outdoor living 56% 55%
Rainwater catchment 44% 52%
Exterior / security lighting 36% 35%

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q1 2014 (any score above 50 is positive)

• Billings: 68

• Inquiries for new projects: 71

Baker added, “Business conditions at residential architecture firms continue to show solid gains, as billings, new design contracts, and inquiries for future project activity are all improving.”

Specific residential segments* 2014 2013
Kitchen and bath remodeling 57 64
Remodeling additions / alterations 59 56
Custom / luxury home market 29 37
Move-up homes 27 33
Townhouse / condo market 15 13
First-time buyer / affordable home market 5 13
Second / vacation home market -9 -5

“The trade-up and custom/luxury markets are seeing a fuller recovery, however, for both segments the pace of acceleration has slowed,” said Baker. “Less favorable weather conditions relative to the first quarter of 2013 may have played a role in the slowdown in improvement in these two sectors.”

About the AIA Home Design Trends Survey
The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of more than 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector. Residential architects are design leaders in shaping how homes function, look, and integrate into communities and this survey helps to identify emerging trends in the housing marketplace. Business conditions are also monitored on a quarterly basis. Future surveys will focus on specialty rooms and systems (September 2014), community design trends (December 2014) and kitchen and bath trends (February2015).

About The American Institute of Architects

Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public well being.  Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit

Contact: Scott Frank

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