AIA Home Design Trend Survey: As the residential sector begins to recover, focus turns to making kitchens and baths more accessible and sustainable

Washington, D.C – March 24, 2011 – Economic pressures and the overall decline in home values resulted in the more modest design of kitchens and bathrooms in recent years. That trend appears to be changing towards homeowner preference for larger, and in some cases additional, kitchens and bathrooms. Households continue to desire products and features that promote energy efficiency and adaptability in the use of space for seniors and those with accessibility concerns.

Residential architects are reporting that business conditions are stabilizing and there is a healthy demand for remodeling and renovation projects. These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA)

Home Design Trends Survey for the fourth quarter of 2010, which focused specifically on kitchens and bathrooms.

“We are not seeing the same level of demand for larger and additional kitchens and bathrooms as we saw during the peak of the housing market, but there has been a shift away from downsizing those rooms that has taken place the over last two years,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Key considerations are the amount of pantry space, dedicated recycling centers and the integration with family space allowing for easier child care and home entertaining.”

Popular kitchen products and features* 2010 2009
     
Larger pantry space: 43% 47%
Recycling center: 40% 52%
Integration with family space: 38% 41%
Renewable flooring materials: 35% 46%
Computer area / recharging stations: 33% 43%
Renewable countertop materials: 32% 46%
Drinking water filtration systems: 26% 30%
Adaptability / universal design: 26% 28%
Double island: 22% 20%

* Index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity

Baker added, “In order to help manage utility costs, homeowners are still opting for items such as water saving toilets and LED lighting. Accessibility within the home and demand for universal design principles continues to be a priority and should remain so for the foreseeable future given the aging U.S. population.”

Popular bathroom products and features* 2010 2009
     
Water saving toilets: 58% 63%
LED lighting: 46% 49%
Accessibility / universal design: 44% 50%
Doorless showers: 42% 47%
Radiant heated floors: 41% 52%
Hand showers: 34% 36%
Linen closet / storage: 21% 29%

* Index score computed as % of respondents reporting increasing minus those reporting decreasing popularity

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q4 2010 (any score above 50 is positive) 

  • Billings: 45(up from 42 in Q3 2010)
  • Inquiries for new projects: 56 (up from 49 in Q3 2010)

“The encouraging signs for the still struggling residential market are the increase in inquiries for new projects and that project backlogs at firms – the amount of work in-house and under contract – can now support current staff for over three months. Backlogs have been slowly trending up since early 2009.” said Baker.(index score computed as % of respondents reporting improving minus those reporting weakening conditions) 

Specific construction segments

  • Kitchen and bath remodeling: 45
  • Additions / alterations: 39
  • First-time buyer / affordable home market: -23
  • Custom / luxury home market: -25
  • Move-up home market: -27
  • Townhouse / condo market: -38
  • Second / vacation home market: -56
Posted in AIA, Design

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