Decrease in Home Sizes and Lots Nearing Bottom


Best business conditions since 2007 for residential market

Washington, D.C. – June 29, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — The collapse of the housing market resulted in greater interest in smaller homes and lot sizes, but that appears to be leveling off. There continues to be interest from homeowners in investing in their properties, particularly with regards to outdoor living space. Accessibility within the home remains a concern, especially for an aging population, along with ongoing demand for more flexible and open design within homes. Business conditions for residential architects are showing improving conditions with the highest billings score since mid-2007. These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey that focused specifically on overall home layout and use in the first quarter of 2011.

“Overall home and lots sizes showing signs of increasing slightly indicates that the housing market is stabilizing after being in a downward spiral since 2007,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “But consistent with the last several years, there remains a preference for open space layout allowing for more flexibility and less interest in formal spaces and rooms.”

Overall home layout and size trends

    Residential elements (% of respondents that reported decreases) 2011 2010
    Square footage 52% 57%
    Lot size 22% 32%
    Volume 18% 21%
    Residential elements (% of respondents that reported increases)                2011       2010
    In-home accessibility 58% 60%
    Open space layout 49% 56%
    Access into / out of home 48% 49%
    Informal space 40% 48%
    Single-floor plan 35% 40%
    Lot size 22% 32%
    • Outdoor living and landscaping trends
    Residential elements (% of respondents that reported increases)                2011                       2010
    Low irrigation landscaping 63% 63%
    Outdoor living space 60% 56%
    Rainwater catchment 49% 55%
    Blended indoor / outdoor living 46% 48%
    Exterior / security lighting 30% 33%
    • Housing market business conditionsAIA Home Design Survey Index for Q1 2011 (any score above 50 is positive)
      • Billings: 51
      • Inquiries for new projects: 60
    • Baker continued, “The home improvement market, including both additions and structural alterations as well as remodeling projects, is extremely healthy right now and with the exception of the affordable home market, all of the other sectors are more positive than the same time a year ago.” Specific residential segments (index score computed as % of respondents reporting improving minus % reporting weakening conditions)
      • Kitchen and bath remodeling: 52
      • Additions / alterations: 51
      • First-time buyer / affordable home market: -22
      • Move-up home market: -16
      • Custom / luxury home market: -19
      • Townhouse / condo market: -34
      • Second / vacation home market: -51

About the AIA Home Design Trends Survey
The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of 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 2011) and community design trends (December 2011).

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit

Scott Frank

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