The home-building industry has seen a drastic slow down in the past 24 months, so it’s a little tough to predict the future. What I do know is that new homes need to be based on efficiency. Here a few thoughts and ideas on how to successfully build for the future.
The Shrinking Home
Home sizes are beginning to shrink due to a tight economy and strict lending standards. Many are still feeling the burn of the previous real estate cycle and are now diligently checking the expenses they are putting into their homes.
When building rates begin to increase, slightly smaller homes with less flash and upgrades will become more important. I predict even kitchen upgrades might diminish. Buyers will want efficient spaces with less square footage. The room count won’t change, but they will be smaller
Will Wood Trim Save Me Money?
Green standards are good, but people will want to see the benefits up front, particularly the financial benefits. Benefits such as energy efficient appliances where they can see saved dollars. Wood trim and other cosmetic benefits will not be as important as they have been in the past. Will the buyer pay for building materials (recycled) that are more expensive, but environmentally efficient? This is the big question for builders. Most research indicates that the buyer will not pay for things that can’t see in savings right away.
Houses are Homes Again
The buyer tends not to look at homes as investments anymore. This will make the purchase even more personal than it was before. People are looking for a home. They aren’t buying a house with the intentions of turning a profit on it after five years.
Priming for Electronics
Computer spaces and other electronic-minded amenities will be in high demand. This includes a place for flat screen televisions . Wiring is going to be important as well. Communities where all of these services are bundled will have an advantage.
The young and old will want efficient use of space, but what about the families with parents in their 30s and 40s? What will they want? I am hoping the “McMansion” is dead, but I am already hearing of builders planning to build more. For a good point of reference, take a look at SustainHouse.com. This is a colleague of mine. This site was just launched and we have already had thousands of hits. We are getting lots of feedback on green. Most from 55 +buyer/retirees and younger buyers.
Generation Y and Unemployment
Multi-generational design is worth nothing in a traditional sense. Unemployment among generation Y is very high and many are opting to stay at home longer than usual. Designing for them and/or extended family may become more important. I think this is going to be a trend that might continue for a while.
Their Wants Are Your Challenges
I am finding that most 55+ buyers want quality finishes. They are not willing to settle for less than they had in their previous homes. If they are looking at a condo for example, they want finishes that match the home they are moving from. There in lies the challenge.