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      Continued Demand for Homes in Infill Development Projects with Established Infrastructure

      Residential design favors simplicity and durability

      Contact: Matt Tinder
      202-626-7462
      mtinder@aia.org

      http://twitter.com/AIA_Media

      For immediate release:
      Washington, D.C. – December 6, 2011 –
      In recent years, there has been a definitive shift away from large residential subdivisions towards smaller scale infill development projects with a greater emphasis on affordability, access to public transportation, commercial opportunities and job centers. Amid continued concerns about over housing affordability, home styles have become simpler with low maintenance, durable building materials.

      Residential architecture firms continue to report weak business conditions, with remodeling activity one of the few bright lights for residential design activity. These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the third quarter of 2011 that focused on community and neighborhood design.

      “On the development side, low levels of new home construction, steep foreclosure rates and a surge in the popularity of urban living are the primary reasons for high levels of infill projects,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “From a home design perspective the preference is for building materials such as fiber-cement, stone, tile or natural earth plasters that are durable and require little maintenance.”

      AIA Home Design Trends Survey highlights

    Community design elements

    2011

    2010

    Infill development

    65%

    65%

    Access to public transportation

    47%

    58%

    Multi-generational housing

    44%

    53%

    Higher density development

    38%

    39%

    Traditional neighborhood design

    47%

    41%

    Mixed-use developments

    37%

    53%

    Access to commercial facilities

    36%

    37%

    Popular Home Exteriors Features

    2011

    2010

    Durable exterior materials

    68%

    75%

    Front porches

    40%

    57%

    Simple exterior details

    28%

    16%

    Single story home

    24%

    26%

    Sustainable roofing

    23%

    52%

    Solar reflective roofs

    21%

    39%

    Tubular skylights

    15%

    30%

    Contemporary design

    10%

    11%

      (% respond. report. popularity of feature “increasing” minus % report. “decreasing”; Q3)

      Housing market business conditions

      The residential market continues to struggle. The national home design billings index was 45 for the third quarter of 2011 (any score below 50 indicates a decline in activity), down from the previous quarter’s mark of 50, although scores are not adjusted for seasonal variation. Inquiries for new projects were 52, dropping slightly compared to the score of 54 in the second quarter of the year.

    Specific construction segments

    2011

    2010

    Kitchen and bath remodeling

    37%

    43%

    Additions / alterations

    35%

    42%

    First-time buyer / affordable home market

    -37%

    -35%

    Move-up home market

    -36%

    -34%

    Townhouse / condo market

    -35%

    -39%

    Custom / luxury home market

    -27%

    -43%

    Second / vacation home

    -61%

    -65%

      (% of respondents reporting sector “improving” minus % reporting “weakening”; Q3)

      About the AIA Home Design Trends Survey
      The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of over 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector. Residential architects are design leaders in shaping how homes function, look, and integrate into communities and this survey helps to identify emerging trends in the housing marketplace. Business conditions are also monitored on a quarterly basis. Future surveys will focus on kitchen and bath trends (February 2012), overall home layout and use (June 2012), and specialty rooms and systems (September 2012).

      About The American Institute of Architects
      For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

 

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