At IBS: NAHB identifies top housing trends
The average size of new homes, along with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, has shifted course, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
Following declines in size for four years, the wake of COVID-19 has prompted home buyers to seek larger dwellings. The report was issued as the NAHB hosts its virtual International Builders’ Show this week.
The average size of homes in 2020 held steady at 2,486 square feet, while the percentage of homes with four or more bedrooms and three or more bathrooms rose to 46% and 33%, respectively — rising closer to 2015 peaks, the NAHB said.
“The primary reason is that COVID-19 has led a segment of home buyers to desire larger homes and to move out to the suburbs,” said Rose Quint, NAHB assistant vice president of survey research.
An increased number of rooms within the same footprint means home owners are becoming more creative in how they use the space within their homes, and using features such as windows to help make these spaces feel larger.
“The space works harder rather than larger,” said Donald Ruthroff, principal at Dahlin Group Architecture Planning. “Open spaces are better defined, and spaces are flexible.
New homes are also gaining popularity with 60% of buyers preferring new homes — the highest level since 2007.
Quint says a lack of existing home inventory is pushing potential home buyers toward new residential construction. Additionally, there are concerns about touring other people’s homes due to the pandemic.
Last month, the National Association of Realtors reported that existing-home sales in December 2020 increased 0.7% and reached their highest level since 2006. But existing unsold inventory sits at an all-time low of a 1.9-month supply at the current sales rate, down from 2.3 months in November
The outlying suburbs are the most popular geographic location for new homes, driven by increased interest among minority home buyers, Quint said.
NAHB also examined preferences among buyers to help builders determine what features are most likely to resonate in the market in 2021. The top features desired include:
- Laundry rooms
- Exterior lighting
- Ceiling fans
- ENERGY STAR windows and appliances
- Patios and front porches
- Kitchen double sink
- Walk-in pantries
Outdoor spaces such as patios and front porches allow home owners to utilize more space, Ruthroff added, with the connection between indoors and outdoors continuing to become more seamless.
The NAHB said that builders at every value level should consider how to integrate such connections into their homes, and incorporate detailing that helps to dress up these spaces.
Also, the NAHB asked recent and prospective home buyers how COVID-19 may have impacted their housing preferences.
Although the majority (67%) did not feel the pandemic had an impact, a quarter did feel their preferences had changed because of COVID-19, with households that have at least one teleworker and one virtual student being the most likely to feel an impact. These households are also the most likely to desire a larger home.