Demand for Specialty Rooms Drops amid Continued Economic Concerns around Housing Market


Energy-efficient products and systems, outdoor living and accessibility retain their appeal

Washington, D.C. – September 13, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Homeowner interest in specialty rooms, systems utilizing emerging technologies and upscale products is waning as the residential market continues to struggle. Instead, investments within the home have focused on increasing energy efficiency, fostering outdoor living environments and adding wireless communications systems as home offices remain popular.

These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the second quarter of 2011 that focused on emerging home features: systems, technologies and function rooms in the home.“The majority of special function rooms have seen a noticeable drop in demand in the past year, which makes sense given the state of both the overall economy and the housing market in particular,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Rather, homeowners are showing a continued preference to save money on utility costs and improve the resale value of their home through investing in energy efficient upgrades.”

Baker added, “Despite the weak housing market, design elements that promote accessibility within the home remain strong led by master bedroom suites located on the first floor and even more expensive features like ramps leading into the home and elevators.”

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q2 2011 (any score above 50 is positive)

      • Billings: 50
      • Inquiries for new projects: 54
    • Baker noted, “There are signs of stabilization of business conditions for residential architects, although it would be premature to say that the market is entering a recovery phase. Demand for remodeling and renovations is in relatively good shape, but all major new construction categories continue to drag, which is keeping the overall housing market back.”

      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 community design trends (December 2011), and kitchen and bath trends (February 2012).

      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

Matt Tinder

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