Fewer new homes are being built with a fireplace, a sign the cold-weather amenity is falling out of favor with home buyers. A record low percentage of newly constructed single-family homes—41%—last year included a fireplace, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from the National Association of Home Builders. The share of single-family homes with fireplaces has been declining since 2015, the NAHB reports.
“An obvious explanation for the declining trend is that builders are foregoing fireplaces in some of their homes so they can bring them in at prices their customers can afford,” the NAHB reports on its Eye on Housing blog. “Keeping new homes affordable has become a considerable challenge lately.”
Fireplaces are usually considered a desirable amenity but not a must-have, the NAHB notes. Fifty-five percent of buyers rate gas-burning fireplaces as desirable, while 48% say the same of wood-burning fireplaces as desirable, according to the survey. That places such features in the middle of the list of decorative features most sought-after in terms of desirability, according to the NAHB’s “What Home Buyers Really Want” survey. However, only 16% of buyers say either type of fireplace is essential in a home purchase.
Fireplaces are the most uncommon home feature in the lower price points of the market. For example, just 7% of new single-family homes started in 2018 that were priced under $150,000 had fireplaces. On the other hand, more than 60% of homes priced at $500,000 or above had a fireplace.
Source: “Share of New Homes With Fireplaces Drop to Record Low,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog (9/16/19)
The appeal of outdoor living continues to be important to homeowners, and the outdoor kitchen is at the center of that. The latest American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey shows that outdoor kitchens are among the most wanted kitchen features in new architectural projects.
Nearly 50% of the architect respondents surveyed reported the popularity of outdoor kitchens is still growing. The popularity is seen in markets across the country, and not just in warmer climates like Florida, Texas, and California—outdoor kitchens are also taking hold in colder areas like the Northeast.
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Laundry rooms and Energy Star–compliant windows topped the list of what buyers considered the most “essential” or “desirable” features in a home, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ 2019 “What Home Buyers Really Want” report, released at the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas this week. Most of the features that new homeowners or aspiring buyers ranked highest related to helping them save in utility costs, add extra storage, and spruce up the outside, said Rose Quint, the NAHB’s assistant vice president of survey research.
The NAHB surveyed nearly 4,000 consumers who either purchased a home within the last three years or plan to buy a home in the next three years to identify their top desires in a home. Consumers were asked to rank 175 home features based on how essential they were to their home purchase decisions.
Consumers ranked the following home features highest:
- Laundry room: 91%
- Energy Star windows: 89%
- Patio: 87%
- Energy Star appliance: 86%
- Ceiling fan: 85%
- Garage storage: 85%
- Exterior lighting: 85%
- Walk-in pantry: 83%
- Hardwood flooring: 83%
- Double kitchen sink: 81%
- Energy Star–whole home: 81%
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Bathroom makeovers can help enhance a property, but homeowners should be careful not to be too trendy or it may have the opposite effect. HouseLogic detailed several recent bathroom trends that homeowners might want to reconsider, including:
Mosaics of tiny colored tiles may be on-trend and offer a retro vibe to your bathroom, but they’ve also earned a reputation as being a pain to keep clean. Tiny tiles mean more grout to clean and maintain. Instead of doing a large space of tiny tiles, HouseLogic recommends using them as an accent, such as the wall surrounding your vanity. Choose a place where they won’t get wet on the floor, in the tub, or in the shower so that cleaning them is less of a chore.
The flooring may be a hot choice for the rest of your home, but they can be a pain in the bathroom. “It will warp next to a shower or tub if not dried after each use,” Tanya Campbell, a designer for Virdis Design Studio in Denver, told HouseLogic. “Also, tile is more sanitary.” If the wooden look is what you want, opt for something that resembles the exterior, but is actually tile.
Colored tubs and sinks
Color is gradually entering more bathrooms. But don’t forget the lessons from the 1950s pastel bathroom craze that brought in pink and aqua sinks. That had renovators ripping them out a few years later in favor of white, a safer choice for the long term. “The bathroom is one of the most expensive rooms in the house to do, and so I try to be very safe because the parts are going to be expensive to change out—like a tub,” Suzanne Felber, a designer in Dallas, told HouseLogic. If color is what homeowners want, opt for painting the walls instead; it’s easier to change later on.
Catch more bathroom trends worth reconsidering at HouseLogic.com.
Native plants, outdoor yoga spaces, and charging stations are among the hottest landscaping trends growing in consumer demand for 2018, according to a new report released by the American Society of Landscape Architects. Landscape architects were asked to rate the popularity of several residential outdoor design elements. Landscape architects noted a growth in the use of native plants, low-maintenance landscapes, and flexible-use spaces, for yoga classes or movie night.
Overall, landscape architects ranked the following outdoor design elements as the overall most popular in 2018:
- Fire pits/fireplaces
- Seating/dining areas
- Outdoor furniture
- Outdoor kitchens
- Decking (i.e. rooftop decking)
- Movie/TV/video theaters, wireless/internet, stereo systems
- Outdoor heaters
- Stereo systems
- Pools and spa features (hot tubs, Jacuzzis, whirlpools, indoor/outdoor saunas)
- Utility storage
- Outdoor cooling systems (including fans)
Black is making a comeback in home design, with black fixtures, appliances, and furniture emerging as hot trends for the new year. Ryan Brown of Brown Design Group in Southern California predicts that black fixtures will replace brass as the most trendy home hardware in 2018. “They look great in modern applications, as well as transitional homes,” he told realtor.com®. “And the best part is no water spots to clean off.”
Matted black furniture also will gain popularity in 2018, says Amy Chernoff, vice president of marketing for AJ Madison, an appliance and fixture retailer. Black goes with anything, and in matte finishes, it’s easier to clean than lighter, polished metals. Also, Chernoff predicts that black stainless appliances—an alternative to the shiny finish of stainless steel—likely will become trendier in the new year. “The smudge-resistant, minimal and sleek look was in line with 2017 kitchen trends,” Chernoff told Kitchen & Bath Design News.
Source: REALTOR Magazine
The front porch—a classic feature of American homes—is making a comeback but with a twist.
Younger crowds are literally turning porches into stages. “Porchfest” is growing in popularity across the country, in which neighborhood music festivals pop up that are enjoyed from homeowners’ front porches.
The Atlantic Monthly’s CityLab reports: “In the Instagram age, the front steps have become places to see and be seen, throw a rocking concert or party, and to foster metropolitan community in a walk-by, stop-in-for-wine sense.”
Read more on REALTORmag…