Demand for larger homes and lots peaking

Robust business conditions reported by residential architects

Washington, D.C. – June 12, 2017 – After several years of increasing demand for larger homes and lots, homeowners interest in extra square footage is waning. Additionally, homeowners continue to express a high level of interest in features that will allow them to stay in their home even with limited mobility. These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the first quarter of 2017, which focuses specifically on home and property design and the use of interior and exterior space.

All of the data can be accessed through this infographic.  You can view this press release online here:

“With younger households that are increasingly entering the market looking for more affordable options, home sizes appear to have peaked for this economic cycle,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “For aging owners, accessibility continues to be a high priority.”

Residential elements 2017 2016
In-home accessibility 59% 64%
Single-floor plan 53% 47%
Open space layout 51% 53%
Informal space 49% 55%
Access in/out of home 49% 49%
Volume 26% 31%
Square footage 19% 21%

% of firms reporting “increasing” activity for that characteristic; Q1 2017

Baker added, “As building lots continue to be smaller and scarcer, lot preparation with the goal of maximizing livable outdoor space tops the list of property enhancement desires.” 

Outdoor living and landscaping trends

Residential elements 2017 2016
Outdoor living space 66% 69%
Blended indoor / outdoor living 62% 61%
Difficult lot preparation 56% 50%
Low irrigation landscaping 55% 56%
Increased building density 50% 46%
Exterior / security lighting 30% 34%
Green fencing 27% 25%
Lot size 4% 6%

% of firms reporting “increasing” activity for that characteristic; Q1 2017

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q1 2017 (any score above 50 is positive)

  • Billings: 63
  • Inquiries for new projects: 71

“Billings and inquiries at residential firms are nearing a two-year high in terms of the pace of growth,” said Baker.  “Those factors, along with a sizable jump in demand with first-time home buyers is a signal the custom residential housing market will be stable for the foreseeable future.”

Specific residential segments* 2017 2016
Remodeling additions / alterations 54 53
Kitchen and bath remodeling 53 52
Move-up homes 25 29
Custom / luxury home market 22 28
Townhouse / condo market 15 15
First-time buyer / affordable home market 10 2
Second / vacation home market -2 8

% of respondents reporting sector “improving” minus % reporting “weakening”; Q1 2017

About the AIA Home Design Trends Survey

The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of more than 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector.  Residential architects are design leaders in shaping how homes function, look, and integrate into communities and this survey helps to identify emerging trends in the housing marketplace.  Business conditions are also monitored on a quarterly basis.  Future surveys will focus on specialty rooms and systems (September 2017), community design trends (December 2017) and kitchen and bath trends (February2018).

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit

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