Although new-home construction continues to lag, residential in-fill development and home remodeling projects are keeping architects busy, according to a quarterly report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, formerly of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, noted that there are signs of recovery in the multi-family and rental side of the market. But “residential architects are reporting continued weak conditions among first-time buyers, thereby limiting any improvement in the trade-up market,” Baker said. Infill projects are getting a boost from steep foreclosure rates, low levels of suburban developments and the popularity of urban living, he added.
“Home improvement activity remains very healthy.” Baker continued. “Some of this strength comes from owners who have decided not to trade up, and have instead chosen to remodel their current homes. Additionally, improvements to distressed properties to prepare them for sale, or to fix them up after a sale, are creating opportunities in many markets across the country.”