Home building hit a 17-year high in July of 2003 and has initiated discussion of what is expected from today's homebuyer. Results from a recent survey of Better Homes and Gardens magazine subscribers and a study of demographics by the National Association of Home Builders shows that homeowners want practical designs that make a home more functional, efficient and maintenance-free. They want a floor plan the flows together, with all space being truly functional.
Kitchens are still key in selling any home and remain America's number one remodeling project. They must be as functional as they are appealing. Islands are still a craze and will remain so. Stainless steel appliances have also become popular among home buyers who like their performance capability and low-maintenance issues. Fireplaces will be placed at eye level in the adjoining family room, so the cook can enjoy it too. The formal dining room continues to be less popular as time goes by with home buyers continuing to favor large, informal dining spaces that open to the kitchen.
Concentration is also on the tranquil, restful and serene atmosphere of the master bedroom and bath. Uncluttered spaces with a fireplace and a balcony or patio are hot, along with maximized space and function in the closet. Additionally, fifty million Americans have home offices, and 11 million bring their work home at night. A good home office marries the efficiency of an office with the comforts at home.
If there is a color focus on this decade, it's blue. Other important colors for the new millennium are sage green and natural tones. Texture is also very important in today's new homes. Metallic finishes will branch out from the current emphasis on stainless steel. Natural stone will begin to take over some areas of the home from the current emphasis on hardwood.
Other appealing upgrades include improved heating and cooling systems, full lawn sprinklers, home theaters, more than one phone line, solid counter tops in kitchen and baths, more hard surface flooring, ten foot ceilings and built-ins throughout. Secondary bedrooms are larger and three-car garages have become standard in many locations. Energy efficiency and indoor air quality have also become hot buttons with consumers.
A recent news release distributed by the Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association reports that homeowners are adding fireplaces to nontraditional locations. Today's fireplaces feature creative looks, unique shapes and sizes, convenient fuels and a variety of venting choices that make the addition of a fireplace more flexible than ever. Now fireplaces can be customized and easily installed to accentuate any décor and add ambiance to bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, home offices, basements, media rooms and even backyard patios.
Preservation of open space and natural beauty top the list of what homebuyers desire. They want new and different homes to set them apart from the crowd. Functional design, durable products and good craftsmanship are key aspects to homeowners' satisfaction.
Sources: National Association of Home Builders, Better Homes and Gardens, 2003 American City Business Journals, Inc., Master Builder Association, Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association.