It’s unlikely that new homes in 2018 will change significantly from those built in 2017 and 2016. While starts last year increased by 9 percent over 2016, the characteristics of new homes stayed largely the same. This year, homes should mirror the average size of about 2,600 square feet with plenty of sleeping and bath space. Almost half had four bedrooms or more and around 35 percent had three full baths or more.
Homes built in 2018 will most likely include a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, separate laundry room, a great room, nine-foot ceilings on the main floor and granite kitchen counters. They are also very likely to contain energy-efficient features such as low-E windows and Energy Star-certified appliances and windows, the survey said.
The great room, however, may be on borrowed time.
One trend that Better Homes and Gardens is watching is the large, open room made popular in the second half of the 20th century. Great rooms, usually located in the center of the house, typically combine kitchens, living and dining rooms and feature raised or vaulted ceilings.
Traditional Home Executive Editor Jill Waage and Better Homes and Gardens Home Design Editor Amy Panos say the rooms that became largely popular in the 1990s may be losing steam. Whether that pans out into more separate and defined living spaces is unclear, and it's too soon to tell, they said.
Remodeling is on the uptick
The National Association of Home Builders expects spending on single-family residential remodels, which has been on an upward tick in recent years, to increase 4.9 percent in 2018 over 2017 and an additional 0.6 percent in 2019.
Remodeling spending topped $152 billion in 2017, said Houston remodeler and 2017 NAHB Remodelers Chair Dan Bawden.
“There is steady demand around the country, but the cost of labor and materials is challenging remodelers’ ability to meet that demand.”
“We're not only seeing more requests for proposals, but more committed projects from owners,” said Steve Cunningham, CAPS, CGP, a remodeler from Williamsburg, Va. “In addition to regular updates and repairs, there's been an uptick in more ambitious large remodel requests.”
Gen Xers, Millennials open to small, compact homes
Also, the NAHB survey found that 53 percent of respondents might consider living in a home of 600 square feet or less in size at some point in their lifetimes. More Gen Xers and Millennials are open to the idea than baby boomers and seniors.
Tim Blackwell is a long-time publishing and printing executive in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who writes about the housing and transportation industries. He has contributed numerous articles to Property Management Insider and the Propertyware blog, and worked as a newspaper reporter in the D/FW area. Blackwell is president of Ballpark Impressions, and publishes the Cowcatcher Magazine. He is a member of the Fort Worth Chapter/Society of Professional Journalists.