The American Institute of Architects second quarter 2011 Home Design Trends Survey found that homeowner interest in specialty rooms, systems using new technologies and upscale products is declining as the residential design market continues to struggle.
Instead, investments within the home are focused on increasing energy efficiency, creating outdoor living environments and adding wireless communications systems.
“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, Ph.D. “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.”
The Design Trends Survey found that 36 percent of respondents named the home office as the most popular special function room, up from 31 percent in 2010. Outdoor living rooms were named by 24 percent of respondents as the second most popular special function room. Other specialty rooms saw a decrease in popularity, including mud rooms, down to 17 percent in 2011 from 20 percent in 2010. The survey also found that 69 percent of homeowners reported energy-efficient products as being a popular demand, as well as 65 percent responding that low maintenance was a demand.
Another demand among respondents was wireless systems, up from 42 percent in 2010 to 50 percent in 2011. Energy management concerns fell from 50 percent in 2010 to 46 percent in 2011. Special home features increased in popularity in 2011, up from 65 percent in 2010 to 68 percent in 2011. Alternate insulation, such as panels or foam, was popular among 67 percent of respondents. First floor master bedrooms were popular with 47 percent of respondents and ramps or elevators were named among 33 percent of respondents.
Within specific construction segments, the additions or alterations sector improved for 40 percent of respondents. In the kitchen and bath remodeling sector, 36 percent of respondents felt the market was improving.
"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," Baker said. "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.”
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