The hottest trends in residential construction are not things like glass sinks and marble floors. Ostentatious architectural behemots are no longer visible in the newly built area. Newcomers listen to shopping trends, watch their pennies and make wise ecological choices in materials. Practicality is a new keyword in housing construction.
Perhaps the biggest change in new housing construction is the size of the house itself. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average size of new homes in the USA fell between 2007 and 2009. The total size of a new home decreased from 10% to 15%, which in turn reduced the price of the property. Buyers can no longer see a need or no longer have the financial means to care for a spacious way of life. Equipment is still present, quality finishes are still in use, granite worktops are still popular, but kitchens and bathrooms are smaller.
Energy efficiency is another major trend in residential construction, which is not surprising. Builders are using better construction methods, deciding to spend money in areas that will not only make the house greener, but will also appeal to the buyer’s wallet. One way to increase energy efficiency is to choose better windows that will help to maintain a higher R-value in the home. Properly sealing the ductwork so that the homeowner gets the maximum possible benefit from the airflow is now a regular part of the house design. The use of closed cell spray foam in walls, recesses and attics, instead of pink insulation strips, dramatically increases the R-value in the home. Perhaps builders decide to build energy-efficient houses for the benefit of the environment. Or maybe it is an attempt to remain competitive in a market where foreclosure of the real estate market is cheap and abundant. Either way, the benefits for the buyer.
Anyone who has been in the real estate market for several years knows that the best way to increase the value of a home is to update kitchens and/or bathrooms. Conversely, it is also true if your intention is to reduce construction costs. New home builders have started to scale the size of the kitchen. Bathrooms also lose square space, but their number is also decreasing. Houses that previously had two or three bathrooms will now have one or two depending on the number of bedrooms. An exclusive children’s bathroom or a room with powder at the bottom is no longer a trend. Most often it is a master bathroom for guests and half a bathroom with bathrooms for those who occupy the master bedroom. Doorless showers in resort style are now a rarity in new homes. Instead, a bedside wardrobe is built in. The kitchen is smaller, but as the most commonly used room in the house, it is designed with practicality in mind. Traditionally this is a multifunctional room, so the new homeowners add functions to these applications. There may also be a charging station for mobile phones and laptops. Or you can sit in many ways; in the breakfast bar, at the kitchen table or at the built-in desk.
In Europe, laundries at home are traditionally found in the kitchen. In North America we don’t see it too often. However, the practicality of the arrangement is pleasant and perhaps at some point new home builders will finally be able to catch up. At the moment it seems that there is a tendency to build a dedicated and organized laundry at the main level of the house. Instead of sticking the washing machine and dryer in the basement or wardrobe, the housewives create a dedicated space. Now the endless ground-level washing task can be done without colliding the elbows with the oven or wardrobe door. In addition, if only space permits, the laundry can be used as a mud room.
As the United States continues to struggle to recover from the infamous economic downturn in 2007, homeowners will continue to look for ways to reduce maintenance costs. Excluding sales are great if you have cash in hand, but these homes do not necessarily come with items to make maintenance costs less. Rooms will usually be larger and more expensive to heat. More bathrooms means higher water bills. Most homes are not properly insulated, which is a huge factor in energy consumption. Windows are much more energy efficient today than five years ago. If you are looking to enter the real estate market, take a close look at the new construction of your home. After all, practicality is the key to success.
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