The AIA Home Design Trends Survey is out for the second quarter of 2013. Since early 2012, business conditions have steadily been trending upwards, and within the past year alone, residential architects have reported a recovery in nearly every residential construction sector. Taking into consideration the "strong levels of inquiries for new projects, the growing levels of project backlogs, and the uniformly strong readings from firms across all regions of the country," workloads for residential architects are predicted to stay strong for the next quarters and future market conditions will only improve.
For more on the AIA's findings, keep reading.
As the economy took a turn for the worse, homes shrank in size and special function rooms - such as outdoor living spaces, mud rooms, in-law suites, and safe rooms - suffered. Now that home sizes are growing again, interest in special function rooms is reemerging. Spaces that have grown in popularity over the past year are outdoor living areas and rooms as well as mud rooms or drop zones, a direct result of increased enthusiasm for outdoor living.
The largely aging population of the US has also heavily impacted the popularity of certain home features and systems. For multiple-floor homes, a master bedroom and full bath on the ground floor are generally desired, as well as ramps or on-grade entry (rather than steps) to enter homes, a home elevator to move between floors, easy-to-use home features (such as door handles and faucets) and non-slip floor surfaces. Accommodations to house multiple generations in one home, going hand-in-hand with these specifications, are also on the rise.
Independent of age, energy efficiency remains a popular demand in homes this quarter, making extra insulation a smart, cost-effective option. Hurricane resistant designs, even in areas where they are not required, have also seen an increase as our climate changes and storms are more common and severe.
As for new technologies in the home, wireless telecommunications/data systems have been at the top of the list for several years and still are. Energy management systems are also gaining popularity as homeowners seek to remotely manage basic households systems such as lighting, temperature, and security controls. Interests in backup power generation systems and electrical docking stations for cars are also increasing and the latter is expected to mushroom as electrical cars become more widely used.
As business conditions improve, residential firms have been able to slowly rebuild project backlogs. Firms were averaging 4.2 months of work in-house during the second quarter, about 1.5 months more than they averaged in mid-2010. Billings at residential architecture firms have increased in all four major regions of the US, though the Midwest and West have seen the most increase. Virtually all sectors of construction have also now recovered.
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