The National Association of Home Builders surveyed their membership on what features will likely not be included in 2012 construction as much as in the past. Builders were asked to rate these amenities from 1 to 5 with 5 being more likely to be included. The findings, reported in a MarketWatch news article included the following:
- Outdoor kitchens
- Outdoor fireplaces
- Sun rooms are out—closets and laundry rooms are in
- Family rooms are in—but they will be one story and not the two story rooms with sweeping high ceilings seen prior to the housing bubble
- Home entertainment and media rooms are out—a charging station for all of your portable electronics hidden in a kitchen cabinet is in
- Soaring two story foyers are out—energy-saving appliances and windows are in
- Outside amenities such as bike and walking trails and park areas in new developments are not likely to be seen (though remaining lots in previously developed areas may have them)
- Multiple-headed showers and related amenities in the master bath are a thing of the past—double sinks in the kitchen are more practical
- Formal living rooms are out with great rooms in (which includes the kitchen, family and living rooms in one large centrally-located space)
- Whirlpools in the master suite will be less prevalent with stand-alone tubs more in the vogue
I do believe that the housing market and related new-home market will return, (see my blog on anticipated U.S. population growth ). The question is when, and depending on the market you are in, that may start heating up in as little as 12 months, while for others, it may be at least five years.
What does strike me about this expected wave of austerity in new housing is that it implies that existing homes with these amenities may be in stronger demand since the competing supply from new construction will not be there (or if there—in reduced numbers). If that is the case, then listing agents really need to focus on these improvements in prospective listings and their likely higher impact on probable selling prices.