The AIA (American Institute of Architecture), of which Rand Soellner, AIA is a member, reported today that the housing market is in an upswing.
Rand Soellner, AIA, along with about 80,000 other architects across the USA reported an upturn in business for residential design work during the 1st quarter in 2012. According to the AIA, this information comes from the AIA Home Design Trends Survey. There has been an easing of market conditions and residential architects are reporting better business.
Strongest Housing Growth in 6 Years
Improved conditions increased billings at housing design firms during the first quarter, nationally now indicating the strongest growth in 6 years. This appears to underscore improvements in all regions of the Country, illustrating what appears to be a wide recovery for the entire economy. Renovations to existing housing is a large segment of increased business, and renewed stability is being experienced in new construction for many types of housing, including custom houses, trade-up residences and also in both large and small housing.
Home Sizes Stabilizing
During the Giant Housing Bubble, house size increased dramatically. However, starting in 2006, sizes began to stabilize or shrink. Soellner noted that during 2003-2009, it was typical to be designing houses of 4,500 HSF (Heated Square Feet). In about 2009, those sizes started coming down into the 1,800 to 3,500 HSF range. Still, there are always clients who want larger houses and those who want more compact arrangements.
Additions & Remodeling Increasing
All over the USA, there is a strong market for housing renovations and additions and the size of those improvements is expanding. Many people who have investments in their houses and whom have been able to hang onto them, see that as a continuing good long-term investment. They are forging ahead with pent-up demand for additional improvements in their lifestyles, desired additional space and functional needs.
Accessibility Strong Trend
Architects all over the Country have noticed that there is a demand to improve the accessibility in houses. Rand Soellner of the HOME ARCHITECTS has current clients that are having him improve their residences with new, large kitchens that allow wheelchair access under cooktops and sinks, elevator additions, no-threshold larger showers, ramps, driveways giving access to all main levels of the house and other improvements.
Open Space Layouts
Rand Soellner’s trademark open space design features are gaining in popularity nation-wide. People favor larger combined spaces to separate smaller ones. This open space also translates into flexible uses for the combined space, which makes the house more useable for more functions for a longer time. Informal space usage is a distinct trend.
Outdoor Living Space Increasing
Rand Soellner’s popular Outdoor Living Rooms and other outdoor space is increasing nation-wide. When the weather is comfortable outside, people often enjoy being there and having a functional and beautiful place in which to enjoy the outside is highly desirable. In Soellner’s outdoor living spaces, he often includes outdoor fireplaces, roofed and screened porches, with high ceilings for great views, outdoor dining, summer kitchens and other useful and enjoyable functions.
Another increasingly demanded feature is low-maintenance low-volume irrigation. Soellner often specifies “drip irrigation” which is ideal for satisfying this requirement. These low-volume drip lines drip right next to the plants’ roots, which greatly improves the efficiency over conventional sprinkler irrigation systems, whose “water everywhere” spray pattern can actually help kill plants by changing their albedo during hot harsh sun exposure, burning through the leaf stomata, damaging the bushes and small trees.
Business Conditions Improving
The stock market has seen improvements during 2012 so far, along with the daily roller-coaster ride for individual companies. Still, the market has seen consistent months of 12,000+ and even 13,000+ Dow Jones Industrial averages. There are daily perils for the World. We all look at the drama playing out in the European economy and the talking heads on news shows increase the drama for ratings, so that people will remain glued to their stations lest they miss anything. The reality is that we are still here. For many people in our Country, things are now starting to improve. Our nation has weathered a very serious economic storm and is coming out of it. As they used to say on the old TV Star Trek episodes: “Live Long and Prosper.”
What Does This Mean For Me
What this means is that interest rates, at long last, may begin to increase, and housing prices may start to also increase. “Get-em While They’re Hot” is a phrase that comes to mind. If you are thinking of doing a renovation or having new house designed and built, Now would probably be a very good time to get that going. Waiting for the full market rebound may result in your spending more money for labor, materials and loan interest.
Contact Rand Soellner, AIA at 1-828-269-9046 to begin your new house or renovation now. Rand@HomeArchitects.com
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