Apr 02 2010
With the downturn in the economy and the hard hits the home building industry has suffered, a new building trend has come into the spotlight. Along with building green and energy efficiency, the concept of “Less is More” is quickly growing in popularity. The housing market is turning away from high-end amenities and unnecessary spaces for smaller more practical homes that do not waste space or energy and are more budget conscious.
Builders and home buyers are saying goodbye to two-story ceilings, outdoor kitchens, home theaters, and embellished master baths with built-in TVs and fancy showerheads. Instead, home buyers and their builders are focusing on ways to keep costs down and be more earth-friendly. They want to eliminate special features like tall ceilings that cause energy bills to skyrocket. This year’s home builders and buyers plan to cut costs with homes that offer plenty of natural light, usable rooms and gathering spaces, practical storage options, energy efficient appliances and lighting, energy-saving windows and quality insulation.
In January, the National Association of Home Builders reported the average size of an American home decreased in size by nearly 100 square feet of living space since last year to approximately 2400 square feet of living area. Furthermore, the required number of bedrooms and baths in the American home has dropped over that last couple years.
So what else can we expect with the “Less is More” strategy?
1. Smaller homes with smaller footprints are becoming popular requiring narrow or smaller lots, which saves green space. In addition, families who need more space are building up instead of out doubling their finished living square footage on that same small footprint. House plans with a second floor are an easy way to gain living space.
2. Energy efficient products of all varieties are in high demand. These products may not have all the bells and whistles that were popular just a few years ago, but if they get the job done while saving energy and cutting utility costs today’s builders and home buyers are interested. Besides, do we really need all of those state-of-the-are features on a dishwasher?
3. Most families are interested in practical and functional spaces and features. They are skipping the high-tech media room and formal dining room. Instead they are opting for a home office or built-in computer station the whole family can use on a daily basis. Features that make daily activities flow more smoothly are a must. Many homebuyers will forego the wet bar in the family room, but a large kitchen island is a must along with a few large storage closets throughout the home.
4. While a lavish master bath is still desirable, they are being scaled back a notch or two with most builders and buyers. Some homeowners are trading the separate shower and bathtub option for just a shower with a bit more room. Others are skipping the fanciful His and Her vessel sinks and down grading to a standard double bowl vanity. In either case the less sophisticated option still serves its purpose and cuts costs.
There are many other ways builders and new home buyers a scaling back their homes. No matter how they do it or what features and amenities they skip over, the goal is the same for everyone involved – Cut costs, reduce energy consumption and make the most of the finished space. Talk with your builder for more ideas related to the “Less is More” trend.
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