by Phillip B. Burum, DR Horton,
President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter
What will new homes look like in 2019 and how are decisions regarding design and features made? Home design and construction has evolved dramatically from the time California began establishing itself as an economic power center pre-World War II to what we have become today as one of the largest economies in the world and the most populated state in the country. Innovation in the way neighborhoods and homes are designed and constructed today provide Americans with more choices and opportunities for finding the perfect home than at any time in history.
In the first half of the 20th Century, homebuyers nearly always had a direct hand in the specifics of how their home was to be designed and constructed. The more affluent could retain a local architect and spend some time with sketch pads to determine precisely what their home should look like. The costs were not insignificant in this custom process, but the potential results included the perfect home for that homeowner. Other future homeowners could buy a popular design and have the home constructed by a local contractor. For the do-it-yourself types, a design could be purchased from a Sears, Roebuck and Company Catalog where all materials and instructions were delivered to the buyer via rail car.
Building neighborhoods one home at a time, however, left much to be desired in the form of community building. Homes would be built on select lots in select parts of a town, leaving the local government responsible for filling in the gaps in infrastructure, including streets, open spaces and utilities.
The great change in homebuilding came in the mid-20th Century when homebuilders evolved into ‘community builders’ who not only constructed homes, but also contributed to planning and construction of the ancillary amenities to serve the new residents such as schools, libraries, parks and infrastructure.
This paradigm shift has led to a more sophisticated process for planning and building communities. A key building block for any builder’s business plan is market intelligence, determining how they fit best within a given market area. What do buyers want, where do they want it and what are they willing to pay for it? The answers to these questions are a crucial component to the success of every major homebuilder.
The primary tool for builders today comes in the form of buyer surveys, which are presented to homebuyers when they purchase a home and at several strategic times after the closing in order to quantify the buyers experience, expectations, wants, and needs. In addition, industry trade organizations provide their own polling and survey data, all in an effort to continue delivering the best possible product to those seeking their piece of the American Dream. When you receive your surveys, take a few minutes to provide honest feedback. Your comments may guide the future of homebuilding.
In addition, Builders rely on trade publications to help guide their planning efforts. One such publication is the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) Housing Trends Report – which polled adults seeking to purchase a home in the next year.
According to the report, when asked which features both first-time and second-time homebuyers considered essential in their next home, more that 40 percent considered a spacious living room, a laundry room, garage storage and walk-in closets in the master bedroom to be the most important features.
First-time homebuyers listed front porches, two-bay garages and double-sinks in kitchens as essentials. Second-time homebuyers concurred with those features, but added patios, table space in the kitchen, Energy-Star appliances and granite counter-tops as essential features as well.
While these represent the key ‘must-have’ features desired by home shoppers, home builders are always exploring new ways to increase the comfort, convenience and safety of the homes they are constructing, knowing their ‘product’ is likely the largest and best investment most Americans will ever make.
The new home you are seeking is probably under construction today at one of the many new communities by one of America’s builders. I encourage you to take the time to start looking at options and opportunities now. If your plans include moving this spring or summer, there is no better time than today to begin speaking to a new home sales counselor. Happy house hunting!
The BIA Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity to attain the American Dream of home ownership. For additional information on home buying or the benefits of homeownership, go to www.biabuild.com on the web.