Kitchen & Bath Design News

SEP 2018

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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WHAT PERCENTAGE OF your projects is new home construction, rather than remodels or additions? For many designers, the answer is almost none. For a few, though, it's most or all. For those who work with national, high-end builders, the opportunity to spot major kitchen and bath trends as they spread across the country is extraordinary – and instructive to the rest of the market. Here is what they're seeing, designing, supplying and building. DEMOGRAPHIC AND ECONOMIC TRENDS Before looking at what's going into these new homes, it's useful to look at who's buying them and what market trends are influencing them. Jessica Lautz, director of demographics and behav- ioral insights research for the National Association of Realtors notes, "Home building is not keeping pace with the demand of all generations for small- er starter homes and homes that are common for retirees who are downsizing. Regionally, the most construction is in the South, but there are still suppressed shares of new properties." This supply-side shortage is causing rapid price increases, she notes, adding that, in some markets, "Supply has kept pace with demand of new jobs, but in areas like Portland, OR and Denver, the supply constraints are a concern." They're especially concerning for first-time homeowners saddled with student debt and high rents, making down payments difficult, she observes. While much has been said and written about millennials deferring home ownership, both Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal point out that their home-buying rates are trending upward faster than all others. Older downsizing home buyers are another big category impacted by home prices. Lautz says, "Baby Boomers who are retiring are more likely to purchase new construction and are able to customize their homes to fit their needs." What they have in common, she says: "All gen- erations desire a place they can call their own, a kitchen to make the perfect meal in and a bath- room to get ready in." That's where you come in. The National Association of Home Builders shared in its most recent (2017) Home Buyer study that, "the majority of buyers in the three higher income brackets [$75,000-plus] prefer a new home: Roughly 40 percent prefer a brand new home offered by a builder and 22 to 29 per- cent prefer a custom home built on their land." Mary DeWalt of Austin-based Mary DeWalt Design Group has been helping regional and national builders dazzle home buyers since 1983 as a model home design consultant. "One inter- esting trend is the lifestyle desires of the Active Adult [aged 50 and older] buyers are very similar to a large portion of the millennial market. Both seem to want to live close to entertainment, restaurants, shopping, and like the 'lock and leave' lifestyle that many communities offer." This points to low- and no-maintenance home features and home security that snow birds and affluent owners prefer so they can be left vacant for weeks or months at a time. OVERALL DESIGN TRENDS "New home builders understand the impor- tance of design much more than they did when I started my firm," DeWalt recalls. "They un- derstand that, with the popularity of Pinterest, HGTV and Houzz, consumers are much more design savvy than ever before." The NAHB study agrees that "home buyers overwhelmingly favor kitchen designs that are either completely open or partially open" to living spaces. Laundry rooms topped the most wanted list and Energy Star ratings also rank in the top five features. Also high on buyers' want lists are hardwood floors, ceiling fans and garage storage. Technology trended strongly in the NAHB study, too: "Findings show that even among the most income-constrained subset of buyers, there is significant appeal for home technol- ogies." They're not talking about fancy appli- ances and fixtures, though: "The three most wanted by buyers earning less than $100,000 are a wireless home security system, a pro- grammable thermostat and security cameras. For those earning $100,000 to $149,999, security cameras are replaced by an energy manage- ment system in the top three, while for those in the highest-income group they are replaced by a multi-zone HVAC system." One of the companies playing in the home technology space is Control4. For the past five years, the Salt Lake City-based company has part- nered with luxury home builder Toll Brothers in offering smart home features. It's also part of CEDIA, the home technology association and expo. In appreciating technology's growing What's Trending in New Construction BY JAMIE GOLD, CKD, CAPS Open kitchen spaces, large islands, brushed bronze and matte black finishes and waterfall islands are among today's hottest trends in new construction kitchens. NAHB's New American Home showcases popu- lar kitchen trends. This 2018 AIA Housing Award winning kitchen reflects many of today's kitchen trends. Home technology is desired by home buyers at all income levels. Photo: Courtesy of Control4 Photo: Courtesy of National Association of Home Builders/ The New American Home/Photographer: Jeff Davis Photo: Courtesy of Poon Design, Inc./Photographer: Mark Ballogg/Linea Residence G Project 38 Kitchen & Bath Design News • September 2018 TREND SPOTTING Continued

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