Since early 2012, residential architecture firms - especially those in the Sunbelt region - have seen a steady increase in housing projects in every sector except for second and vacation homes.
Unlike a decade ago, infill housing developments continue to rank as the most popular residential types among others. In correlation to this, households are continually desiring better access to public transportation, mixed-use facilities, and higher-density development, indicating preference for more walkable, multi-generational neighborhoods that offer recreational activities integrated into the community.
In addition, "Smaller homes are highly prized in many markets across the country," says the AIA, with front and side porches remaining a popular option despite the growing demand in clean, contemporary finishes in exterior detailing. Durable, low-maintenance and fire-resistant materials such as stone, tile and natural earth plasters dominate the materials palette of most homes.
As of the third quarter, 47 percent of respondents indicated an increase in inquiries, compared to 12 percent reporting a decline. As a result, the national billings score was 63.0 for the quarter (any score above 50 indicates growth.) Current backlogs are at 4.5 months, up from 3.7 months in last year's third quarter. (Backlogs, "the amount of work currently in house and under contract that reflects the number of months these projects would keep current staff without new work coming in).
In contrast, new construction has not reported such a speedy recovery. Over the coming quarters, the share of respondents reporting improvement in the new construction sectors will likely catch up with those reporting gains in home activity.
To see the full report, visit the AIA Design Trends Survey page.
Check out our previous coverage from the second quarter, here.