Builders Rethink Housing Designs

With new-home sales down drastically the last few years,
builders are scrambling to re-evaluate what buyers today want in new homes.
Changing demographics and tighter lending standards are influencing buyers’
purchasing decisions when home-shopping and changing their priorities, industry
experts say.

“There is a lot of pressure
today to retool,” says Steve Brooks, CEO of Grand Homes. “We have to redesign
houses and figure out what kind of product people would want to
buy.”

For example, more younger buyers are
bypassing the typical suburban tract of homes and showing a stronger preference
for urban-style homes closer to the city.

“Trying to keep doing the same cookie-cutter houses is going to be
increasingly difficult,” says
James Gaines, an
economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
“Home builders worry that the demand pool for the suburban
home with the quarter-acre lot and the fenced back yard will be shrinking.”

Younger buyers also are saying they don’t
need a ton of extra space in a home and that they want spaces configured
differently in homes, builders say.

For
example, the living room is on it’s way “out,” builders say, as more home owners
instead show a preference toward a game room or media room. Plus, more home
owners are finding they don’t need a fourth bedroom, which was once in high
demand.

However, not all builders believe
the “buying small” trend will last.

“With
our typical single-family buyers, we’re not seeing them willing to give up much
room,” says Bill Darling, a builder in Plano, Texas. “We have seen them willing
to put fewer bells and whistles in the homes.”

Some builders are focusing on ways to cut maintenance costs of home
ownership too by setting out to build more homes that are more energy efficient.

Source: “Stumped Builders Adjust Their Designs,”
RISMedia (May 9,
2011)

Read
more:

More Home Owners Show an Interest in Remodeling
Again

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