U.S. residential architects report healthy demand for remodeling in Q4 American Institute of Architects' Home Design Trends Survey, particularly for kitchens, bathrooms

WASHINGTON , March 24, 2011 (press release) – Economic pressures and the overall decline in home values resulted in the more modest design of kitchens and bathrooms in recent years. That trend appears to be changing towards homeowner preference for larger, and in some cases additional, kitchens and bathrooms. Households continue to desire products and features that promote energy efficiency and adaptability in the use of space for seniors and those with accessibility concerns.

Residential architects are reporting that business conditions are stabilizing and there is a healthy demand for remodeling and renovation projects. These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the fourth quarter of 2010, which focused specifically on kitchens and bathrooms.

“We are not seeing the same level of demand for larger and additional kitchens and bathrooms as we saw during the peak of the housing market, but there has been a shift away from downsizing those rooms that has taken place the over last two years,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Key considerations are the amount of pantry space, dedicated recycling centers and the integration with family space allowing for easier child care and home entertaining.”

Baker added, “In order to help manage utility costs, homeowners are still opting for items such as water saving toilets and LED lighting. Accessibility within the home and demand for universal design principles continues to be a priority and should remain so for the foreseeable future given the aging U.S. population.”

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q4 2010 (any score above 50 is positive)

· Billings: 45(up from 42 in Q3 2010)

· Inquiries for new projects: 56 (up from 49 in Q3 2010)

“The encouraging signs for the still struggling residential market are the increase in inquiries for new projects and that project backlogs at firms – the amount of work in-house and under contract – can now support current staff for over three months. Backlogs have been slowly trending up since early 2009.” said Baker.

Specific construction segments (index score computed as % of respondents reporting improving minus those reporting weakening conditions)

· Kitchen and bath remodeling: 45

· Additions / alterations: 39

· First-time buyer / affordable home market: -23

· Custom / luxury home market: -25

· Move-up home market: -27

· Townhouse / condo market: -38

· Second / vacation home market: -56

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 overall home layout and use (June 2011) specialty rooms and systems (September 2011) and community design trends (December 2011).

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org. Twitter: http://twitter.com/AIA_Media

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