Community Access Continues to Top Housing Preferences


Paced by strong remodeling market, residential architects report healthy business conditions

Washington, D.C. – December 15, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — As the nation’s metro areas continues to expand, homeowners are seeking community amenities that allow them to remain connected to people and commerce. Walkability, higher density and infill development, as well as access to public transportation are all on the rise according to the findings from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the third quarter of 2015, which focuses on community and neighborhood design.

AIA Home Design Trends Survey highlights

Community design elements 2015


Infill development 65%


Multi-generational housing 56%


Access to public transportation 55%


Higher density development 52%


Mixed-use facilities 51%


More walkable neighborhoods 49%


(% respond. report. popularity of feature “increasing” minus % report. “decreasing”; Q3)

All of the data from this survey can be access in this infographic.

“There has been a pronounced shift in driving habits over the last few years, with increasing numbers of people being far more interested walking and utilizing public transit options,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “With that is a desire for proximity to employment and commercial activities.”

Additionally, more simple contemporary styles of homes are growing in popularity. This reflects an evolving taste in homeowner preference.

Popular Home Exteriors Features 2015


Low maintenance exterior materials 69%


Contemporary design 45%


Front/side porches 40%


Windows (number and size) 40%


Smaller / emphasis on styling 39%


Simpler exterior detailing 21%


Single story homes 26%


(% respond. report. popularity of feature “increasing” minus % report. “decreasing”; Q3)

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q3 2015 (any score above 50 is positive)

• Billings: 59

• Inquiries for new projects: 61

• Regional averages: Midwest (48.6), South (59.8), West (71.5) Northeast (50.0)

Baker noted, “Business conditions in most residential construction segments and regions are looking very strong, with the exception of the investment-oriented second and vacation home market. The jump in demand among first-time buyers, coupled with a surge in the move-up market is an especially promising indication for the overall housing market.”

Specific construction segments 2015


Additions / alterations 67%


Kitchen and bath remodeling 54%


Custom / luxury home market 42%


Move-up home market 34%


First-time buyer / affordable home market 10%


Townhouse / condo market 19%


Second / vacation home -2%


About the AIA Home Design Trends Survey
The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of over 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 kitchen and bath trends (March 2016), overall home layout and use (June 2016), and specialty rooms and systems (September 2016).

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works 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 wellbeing. 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: Matt Tinder

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