Friday, December 5, 2014


By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine
What is luring home buyers to new homes? Technology, the outdoors, and “super kitchens” are among what Nick Lehnert, executive director at KTGY, and Mollie Carmichael, principal at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, recently shared with BUILDER Online on some of the design drivers in the new-home market.
Here are some of the trends they point to:
1. Super kitchens: The kitchen is not just a hub for cooking but has become a center of the home for entertainment and conversations. Builders have been opening the kitchen to other rooms and the kitchen island is becoming key to separating the spaces. The island adds more seating along with extra prep space. As kitchens become more open, pantries are getting bigger to accommodate the need for storage.
2. Outdoor/indoors merged: The interiors are feeling stretched by carving out spaces that seamlessly allow home owners to walk into outdoor retreats. But buyers want those outdoor spaces to be private, a stray from the once traditionally “public” backyard. As such, more builders are taking note and carefully positioning the architecture of the home to make sure the outdoor space offers more privacy.
3. Bigger garage spaces: Builders are taking note of buyers’ preferences for more space in the garage, and not just for squeezing in their cars. The garage can be a workspace, hobby haven, and place for added extra storage.
4. Office space: The office/den is in demand as more people work from home, but the best location for it is to still in question. Traditionally, the home office has been located off the main entry of the home. But now builders are rethinking the location as buyers show preferences to have the office closer to the “living” area, particularly near the kitchen hub and family room.
5. Tech-spot: More home owners are constantly plugged into their technology, and the growth of connected homes likely will lead to even more need for tech hubs in the house. Some builders are designing small “server” rooms as smart technology enters more homes.
6. Dual homes: More people are squeezing under one roof as young adults stay with their parents longer, aging parents move in, and cultural preferences further the trend. Builders are taking a keen interest in multigenerational living arrangements. For example, Lennar has launched a NextGen brand of floorplans geared to multigenerational living, which include separate main entrances and options like a 500-square-foot attached suite for a private residence. 

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