Business Conditions for Residential Architects Remains Healthy

Recent gains in demand for infill development and other factors associated with community accessibility appear to be moderating. Showing signs of market saturation, demand for walkable neighborhoods, multi-generational housing and access to public transportation remain strong, but growth has leveled off, according to the findings from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the third quarter of 2017, which focuses on community and neighborhood design.

AIA Home Design Trends Survey Highlights

Community Design Elements
Infill development: 2017, 59 percent; 2016, 68 percent
Mixed-use facilities: 2017, 59 percent; 2016, 56 percent
Increase in tear-downs: 2017, 56 percent; 2016, 68 percent
Higher density development: 2017, 54 percent; 2016, 53 percent
Multi-generational housing: 2017, 54 percent; 2016, 52 percent
Access to public transportation: 2017, 53 percent; 2016, 55 percent
More walkable neighborhoods: 2017, 46 percent; 2016, 49 percent
More recreational opportunities: 2017, 42 percent; 2016, 50 percent

All of the data from this survey can be accessed in this infographic.

“Development pressure on urban neighborhoods seems to be tapering as more development swings back to suburban and exurban locations,” says AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Though homeowners still desire access to community amenities, these results reflect a slowing of migration toward more dense neighborhoods.”

Popular Home Exteriors Features
Low maintenance exterior materials: 2017, 59 percent; 2016, 68 percent
Windows (number and size): 2017, 41 percent; 2016, 47 percent
Contemporary design: 2017, 40 percent; 2016, 43 percent
Front/side porches: 2017, 30 percent; 2016, 40 percent
Smaller / custom design: 2017, 29 percent; 2016, 35 percent
Metal finishes: 2017, 23 percent; 2016, 36 percent
Fire resistant exterior material: 2017, 23 percent; 2016, 26 percent
Exterior accent lighting: 2017, 27 percent; 2016, 18 percent
Simpler exterior detailing: 2017, 19 percent; 2016, 22 percent
Single story homes: 2017, 16 percent; 2016, 25 percent

“Building owner priorities remain consistent, with low maintenance building materials topping the home exterior features list,” Baker adds.

Housing Market Business Conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q3 2017 (any score above 50 is positive)

  • Billings: 58
  • Inquiries for new projects: 59
  • Regional averages: Midwest (60), South (59.4), Northeast (56.9), West (56.1)

Baker notes, “Business conditions at residential architecture firms remain strong across all regions, with improvements to existing homes continuing to top the list for specific residential sectors.”

Specific Construction Segments
Additions/alterations: 2017, 60 percent; 2016, 57 percent
Kitchen and bath remodeling: 2017, 52 percent; 2016, 49 percent
Move-up home market: 2017, 20 percent; 2016, 22 percent
Townhouse/condo market: 2017, 16 percent; 2016, 11 percent
Custom/luxury home market: 2017, 14 percent; 2016, 20 percent
First-time buyer/affordable home market: 2017, -2 percent; 2016, -1 percent
Second/vacation home: 2017, -16 percent; 2016, -6 percent

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