As the American economy starts to emerge from the recession and families start to buy homes again, there will be some notable changes in the new homes that are built. Americans are no longer looking to add on as many luxury features as they can in as large a home as they can afford to buy. Instead they are now carefully evaluating what their needs are, being conservative in their choices, and selecting homes and features that best fit their family’s needs.
This new attitude is showing in the recent change in overall size of new homes being built. In 2006, the median floor area of new single-family homes—which for the most part had trended upward for the past 35 years—peaked at 2,259 square feet. But as home buyers scaled back in the recession, the median square footage decreased to 2,107 square feet in 2009.
In its latest member surveys, the National Association of Home Builders found that builders are responding to changes in home buyer preferences. More than 96 percent of the builders said they planned to produce smaller homes in 2010, and 95 percent said they would offer lower-priced models.
The two features builders reported they were most likely to include were a walk-in closet in the master bedroom and a laundry room. These reflect consumers’ preference for practical features that make effective use of space and provide ample storage.
Of the top ten features most likely to be included in new homes, four provided opportunities for the home owner to save money by decreasing utility costs. They included an insulated front door, low-E windows, a programmable thermostat and energy-efficient appliances and lighting.
“Low-E” stands for low emissivity, which is glass that has special coatings to reflect infrared and damaging ultraviolet light. This keeps heat inside in winter and outside in summer, and protects interior furnishings from fading. Programmable thermostats can be set to automatically adjust the temperature at certain times of day, such as when the family is sleeping.
Among the features builders said they were least likely to include in new homes were smaller kitchens, two-story foyers, media rooms, butler’s pantries and multiple shower heads in the master bathroom.
It’s a good idea to keep these features in mind if you plan to shop for a new home or to update your current home in order to make it more competitive when you do sell it.
Information Courtesy of National Association of Home Builders