Homeowners Ramp-Up Spending on Kitchen and Bathroom Design


WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 26, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — A clear sign that the housing market is in recovery mode , households are placing greater emphasis on kitchens and baths. A sizeable share of residential architects report both the number and size of kitchens and baths are increasing. Even more indicative of an improving market is that upscale features and products used in these areas of the home are growing in popularity. These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the fourth quarter of 2013, which focused specifically on kitchens and bathrooms.

Residential architects are reporting much stronger market conditions. Design billings at residential architecture firms, as well as inquiries for new design projects, have steadily improved over the past two years. Likewise, the level of project backlogs–the amount of work currently in-house for these firms–has increased.

“Now that home prices have hit bottom and are beginning to recover, households are more willing to invest in their homes, looking for more features in new homes that they are purchasing, and willing to undertake higher-end home improvement projects,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Kitchens and baths tend to be the areas that households first look to when they want to upscale their home as markets improve, just as they remained a high priority even during the depths of the downturn.”

Popular kitchen products and features* 2013


LED lighting: 87%


Integration with family space: 44%


Larger pantry space: 42%


Computer area / recharging stations: 37%


Wine refrigeration/storage: 35%


Upper-end appliances: 35%


Adaptability / universal design: 32%


Drinking water filtration systems: 25%


* Index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity

Baker added, “In contrast to emerging trends in kitchen design, the features increasing the most in popularity in bath design deal with growing desires for accessibility.”

Popular bathroom products and features* 2013


LED lighting 80%


Large walk-in showers 62%


Stall shower without tub 61%


Adaptability/universal design 60%


Doorless showers 58%


Water saving toilets 44%


Hand shower 36%


Radiant heated floors 32%


Upscale shower 31%


* Index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q4 2013 (any score above 50 is positive)

• Billings: 62

• Inquiries for new projects: 66

Specific construction segments 2013


Additions / alterations: 65%


Kitchen and bath remodeling: 64%


Custom / luxury home market: 37%


Move-up home market: 33%


First-time buyer / affordable home market: 13%


Townhouse / condo market: 13%


Second / vacation home market -5%


* Index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity

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 overall home layout and use (June 2014) specialty rooms and systems (September 2014) and community design trends (December 2014).

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 www.aia.org.

Contact: Matt Tinder


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