Housing Market Rebound Leading to Renewed Popularity of Special Function Rooms and Technologies


Residential construction segments improving across the board

WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 16, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Specialty rooms, new systems, and technologies are all returning as a high priority among homeowners as the housing market continues to improve throughout the country. There is a particular emphasis on products offering energy-efficiency and fewer maintenance obligations. These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Surveyfor the second quarter of 2013 that focused on emerging home features: systems, technologies and function rooms in the home.

“High demand for systems and technologies in the home that helps to lower utility bills and promote sustainability continue to rule the day in residential design,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “But as economic conditions have improved, there has also been a resurgence in the preference for dedicated ‘special function’ rooms within the home.”

AIA Home Design Trends Survey highlights 2013 2012
Outdoor living rooms 29% 35%
Home offices 22% 22%
Mud rooms 22% 22%
Au pair / in-law suites 8% 5%
All other rooms 5% 5%
Media / home theater 4% 7%
Exercise / fitness rooms 4% 1%
Safe rooms 3% 2%
Hobby rooms 3% 1%
TOTAL 100% 100%

(most popular special function rooms, % of respondents)

Products 2013 2012
Low maintenance 59% 65%
Energy-efficient 58% 69%
Tank-less water heaters 51% 58%
Water saving 48% 51%
Synthetic materials 47% 55%
Recycled materials 39% 42%

(% respond. report. popularity of products “increasing” minus % report. “decreasing”; Q2)

Systems / technologies 2013 2012
Wireless 63% 48%
Energy management 53% 48%
Backup power generation 48% 44%
Solar panels 41% 38%
Automated lights 31% 14%
Geothermal heating / cooling 30% 30%
Security sytsems 37% 22%
Electrical docking station 29% 22%

(% reporting popularity of system “increasing” minus % reporting “decreasing”; Q2)

Special home features 2013 2012
Extra insulation 61% 66%
First floor master bedroom 51% 46%
Ramps / elevators 42% 38%
Easy-to-use features 37% 27%
Hurricane resistant design 37% 25%

(% reporting popularity of system “increasing” minus % reporting “decreasing”; Q2)

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q2 2013 (any score above 50 is positive)

• Billings: 66

• Inquiries for new projects: 68

Baker noted, “The market for remodeling and renovations has been pacing the upturn recently, helping to produce the best business conditions for residential architecture firms since before the Great Recession. Positive conditions should continue, since backlogs of future projects are increasing at a healthy rate.”

Specific construction segments 2013 2012
Additions / alterations 64% 44%
Kitchen / bath remodeling 61% 44%
First-time buyer / affordable home market: 15% -11%
Move-up homes: 35% -4%
Custom / luxury home market: 25% -6%
Townhouse / condo market: 13% -28%
Second home: -8% -48%

(% of respondents reporting sector “improving” minus % reporting “weakening”; Q2)

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 2013), and kitchen and bath trends (April 2014).

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 www.aia.org.

Contact: Matt Tinder

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