New home construction is roaring into the new year as demand continues to outpace supply. Builders have their hands full managing supply chain delays and schedule impacts that persist as a result of COVID-19’s disruption to the construction industry.
Our decades of real estate sales consulting have shown us that remaining competitive means builders must pay attention to not only what today’s homebuyers expect—but what will interest tomorrow’s buyers.
Here are some of the most popular trends in new home construction for 2022.
Multigenerational living spaces
The pandemic brought many families back under one roof for economic, logistical, and health reasons. As a result, more and more of the buyers visiting our real estate sales offices are looking for homes that can meet the needs of multiple generations in a single household.
Innovative builders are including multigenerational features in their new home designs, such as at least one bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor, fewer steps to porches and patios, prioritizing walk-in showers over traditional tubs and showers, and wheelchair-accessible doorways.
Builders are recognizing how homeowners are using domestic spaces in new ways and popular designs reflect this. Separated home offices, areas for kids’ virtual schooling, and outdoor gathering and relaxation areas are all examples of thoughtful choices builders are including in today’s new home designs.
As the lines continue to blur between home, work, school, and recreation, buyers are looking for homes that enable them to take greater advantage of their domestic space for new uses. These “mindful spaces” provide even more flexibility and utility.
As every California builder knows, lot sizes are at a premium. Two-story homes solve the space issue. But two-story living isn’t as user-friendly as single-level living, which becomes more apparent as boomers become a bigger buying force.
The boomer push to move down and move around is influencing new home configurations. Builders are getting creative with lot configuration and many are introducing single-level products as an option.
COVID-19 lockdowns meant people were stuck at home during much of 2020 and into 2021. With many public spaces off-limits, homeowners turned their attention to their own outdoor recreational spaces.
Including a covered patio as part of the base home design increases usable square footage and incentives homeowners to spend time outdoors—an advantage Californians can enjoy practically year-round.
Beyond basic covered patios, many builders are also including luxurious “California rooms” in their designs to fully maximize the functional and aesthetic impact of indoor/outdoor living.
During the last few years providing real estate sales and marketing consulting, we have seen buyer interest in energy efficiency skyrocket. In addition to appealing to the desire to protect the planet, energy-efficient designs also deliver an extra financial incentive to buyers who want to keep utility costs down throughout ownership.
Though builders are accustomed to balancing legislative demands like California’s strict Title 24 energy efficiency standards, more and more builders are using energy efficiency as a selling point.
Many builders still break out the cost of solar installation as a separate line item. However, though it drives the price up slightly, we found that including solar as part of the home’s final price appeals to today’s buyers.
In addition to more solar, some additional trends we see builders incorporate into new home designs are whole-house fans, spray foam insulation, and smart thermostats. EnergyStar appliances have been in play for years, but new technologies mean these appliances continue to become even more efficient.
All these advancements point to a trend in energy efficiency that shows no sign of slowing down.
More time spent at home has increased buyer scrutiny of security features in new houses and communities. Builders are taking this into account through thoughtful design features and community configuration.
Modern security amenities like external and interior cameras, doorbell cams, strategically configured entryways, and multiple exit points provide buyers with peace of mind that their home will provide adequate protection in case of an emergency.
Builders must constantly balance buyer expectations against rising materials and labor costs.
Profits are getting harder to protect. To keep pricing down and produce affordable homes, builders must get creative.
Builders are simplifying new home footprints, placing fewer windows in more strategic locations, and shrinking lot sizes. Every builder has a unique strategy for keeping costs down, and the drive toward affordable building will become stronger and stronger.
Begin with the end in mind
Incorporating cutting-edge features into new home designs means looking over the horizon at how buyer expectations are evolving. We recommend builders interview architects, talk with materials suppliers, and tour design showrooms to familiarize themselves with the newest innovations during the very early stages of design and planning.
This is also a good time for builders to consult with their real estate sales and marketing partner. The sales teams’ boots-on-the-ground perspective reflects their experience seeing which features prompt more buyer interest and which features are falling out of fashion.
For example, The Advantage Group offers expert real estate project analysis services to help builders evaluate their design ideas in the greater context of buyer demand and the surrounding market area. We also closely monitor communities with great sales success and consistently tour model homes and showrooms to discover emerging in-demand trends.
Incorporating the sales team’s perspective early on helps builders make key decisions on floorplans, amenities, and configurations to include the sought-after new home features that attract buyer interest.
Trends are always changing, and successful builders are ready to adapt their designs to match today’s buyer expectations.
Our real estate sales and marketing experts keep a close eye on emerging design trends. Contact us to discover what buyers are looking for today and in the coming years.