Architects have reported an increase in demand for outdoor kitchens, according to the American Institute of Architects' Home Design Trends Survey for the fourth quarter of 2016.
The survey of architecture firms found that the most popular kitchen features were a computer area or charging station (42% of firms reporting such work in 2016 compared to 49% in 2015), under-counter appliances (38% in 2016 and 33% in 2015), larger pantry space (34% in 2016 and 2015) and high-end appliances (31% in 2016 and 39% in 2015).
Additions and alterations were the most popular construction activities last year (54% in 2016 and 61% in 2015), followed by kitchen and bath remodels (51% in 2016 and 54% in 2015).
Home renovations remain a popular choice as rising home prices and persisting inventory shortages dissuade prospective buyers from entering the market or trading up. While homeowners are indeed more optimistic about selling — with 69% in the first quarter saying it was a good time to do so, according to the National Association of Realtors — not enough owners are putting their properties on the market to provide the supply needed to meet demand at these typically lower price points.
Instead, many homeowners are finding new ways to add value to their existing homes. According to AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, this trend is apparent in the rise in popularity of outdoor kitchens. With interior kitchens functioning as the hub of the home, Baker said, homeowners are trying to replicate that space outdoors and bring some of the related activity with it.
The AIA study comes on the heels of a January report by Houzz that found U.S. kitchens are getting bigger and more modern in style, with more than one-third of respondents saying they were increasing their kitchen's footprint. In another recent report, Remodeling magazine found that general home remodeling will return of 64.3% of a homeowner's initial investment upon resale, with a major mid-range kitchen remodel recovering 65.3%.
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