Our area has seen many, many new homes go up in the past year. Some were model homes, some were custom, but all of them followed very similar trends. Unique design styles seemed to align with smart functionality this year, and it’s made for a beautiful landscape of new homes in our area. Let’s take a look back at what was popular, what was left behind, and what’s coming next for new construction.
Light and bright
In 2016 buyers fully adopted a light and airy design style. We saw a huge surge in requests for white woodwork, doors, and cabinets. Overall color schemes for new construction homes, in both new models and custom homes, leaned toward a clean and modern palette of grays. Look for more of the same in 2017 with a trend towards darker, deeper grays.
Oversized kitchen islands
Kitchen islands continue to evolve. In the past year, they became the focal point of the kitchen when buyers began requesting islands be extended and widened as much as possible. This allowed for larger amounts of cabinet storage to move inside the island and afforded a more unique cabinet design in the rest of the kitchen.
Open floor plans
Although younger buyers seemed to prefer two-story homes this year, they didn’t want to sacrifice having an open layout. Requests were primarily for larger kitchens flowing right into the great room, with the dining room big enough for a large banquet table to float somewhere in between. Builders were challenged to create unique floor plans that accommodated budgets, design styles, and overall functionality. In the past year, our area has seen many attractive new model homes and custom built homes with interesting layouts that will speak to future buyers as well.
The master bathroom continues to evolve year after year. Typically the age of the consumer has given a clue into how the design will turn out. In the past year we’ve seen the master bathtub get cut from plans time and time again. Instead, buyers are putting the extra dollars into designing custom walk-in showers. The hidden shower snakes back behind a small tiled wall and eliminates the need for a shower door or curtain.
Suburbs making a comeback
In 2016, we saw more new construction in small neighboring communities than we have in years past. Primarily, Byron had quite a lot of new construction activity. School systems and a quieter lifestyle seem to draw consumers into the smaller towns, but builders haven’t had the confidence to start digging for more models in these areas until this year.
Skilled labor shortage
More than any other year, between the weather and high levels of demand, the industry saw an enormous shortage of skilled labor. There were so many buildings going up at the same time, both residential and commercial, builders were having trouble finding and keeping their skilled subcontractors on the job site. Truly, there’s only so much the industry can get done without enough labor to support the demand, and builders have certainly done well to maintain building schedules as best they could.
What to look for in 2017
In our area, you’ll see some national building trends trickle down into our plans and designs, but our local consumers are very smart. They make it a priority to keep resale, future use, and functionality a focus when making design choices. Combining these with lots of high quality builders makes for a very healthy and very exciting new construction market.
Watch for the spaces that were once formal dining rooms; they will be transforming into home offices. Telecommuting is a concept many large companies are adopting to cut overhead costs. That, paired with some company scale backs, has given the home office life again.
We’re seeing buyers in all age ranges requesting more accessibility features than they have in the past. This is a smart move for custom homebuilders as well as model homes. Making a home easily accessible to all types of consumers can only do good things for the future marketability of the home. Examples of popular accessibility features include: 36-inch doorways, zero steps into the home, and shower benches.
Baby boomers are a very important part of a healthy real estate market in our area and keeping up with tradition, they’re still choosing town home lifestyles over anything else. You’ll see existing town home values continue to rise and more new construction town homes being built than you could imagine. Keep a look out for “Villa” style town homes that offer all the same amenities a typical town home would but as a stand alone building, not having a shared wall with your neighbor.