As the country's metros grow denser, infill development and demand for tear-down properties is picking up, according to the American Institute of Architects’ third-quarter Home Design Trends Survey. The survey of more than 500 residential architecture firms found that respondents indicating an increase in infill development rose from 65% in 2015 to 68% in 2016, while those highlighting growth in tear-downs jumped from 57% in 2015 to 68% in 2016.
Demand for walkable neighborhoods is tapering off, holding at 49% of respondents noting a rise in popularity in 2016 from 2015, while multi-generational housing dipped from 56% of respondents indicating growing interest in 2015 to 52% in 2016. AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker attributes the latter to a more robust economy and diverse housing stock.
This year saw increased demand for windows, in both number and size, as building product technology advances and the category offers improved energy efficiency. Cool roof and fire-resistant exterior technology also saw more traction in 2016.
While interest in developments with access to transportation held steady at 55% of respondents in 2016 from 2015, recent projects on the boards and under construction suggest that the momentum for these kinds of projects is far from static.
Last month, Comstock Homes of Washington announced it had teamed up with real estate investment company Stratford Capital Group to build 110 workforce-housing units near a key suburban hub on Washington, DC's Metro rail system.
And in Houston, Canadian developer Empire Continental Land last week said it is starting work on a 206-acre community near the city that will include 540 homes, parks, trails, lakes and a recreation center.
In its report on the survey, the AIA noted that market conditions are strengthening across the country but warned that an uneven recovery continues to negatively impact demand for more affordable homes and second homes. The interest in the move-up category fell to 22% of respondents in 2016 from 34% in 2015 among the architecture firms surveyed, a category that national and regional builders typically target.
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