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The New Home in 2015: Smaller, Greener, Smarter

3/21/2011 12:00:00 AM


Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnailBy 2015, the average, new single-family home will be smaller, greener and more likely to have a great room than a formal living room by 2015, the National Association of Home Builders found in a recent survey. In a report titled The New Home in 2015, NAHB assistant vice president for survey research, economics and housing policy Rose Quint reports that builders, designers, architects and marketing specialists also predict that low-e windows and engineered wood products will be the likeliest green features, and a double sink, recessed lighting and table space for eating will be popular in kitchens

The majority of respondents agreed that single-family homes would get smaller and have more green features over the next five years. Respondents expect the average, new single-family detached home in 2015 to be about 2,152 square feet, 10 percent smaller than the average size of single-family homes started in the first three quarters of 2010. Census Bureau data indicates that the average size of single-family homes peaked in 2008, at 2,521 square feet, then declined in 2009 to 2,438 square feet. Preliminary data for 2010 shows a drop to 2,377 square feet as consumers focus on lowering the cost of heating and cooling their homes, lose access to home equity loans and lower their expectations for house price appreciation.

More than half (52 percent) of the respondents expect the living room to merge with other spaces in the home, while 30 percent expect it to vanish to save on square footage. Another 13 percent expect it will become a parlor/retreat/library or music room. Great rooms topped the list of “very likely” rooms/features, followed by walk-in closets, laundry rooms, ceiling fans, master bedrooms on the first floor and two-car garages. Also very likely: low-e windows; engineered wood beams, joists or trusses; water efficient features (dual flush toilets or low flow faucets) and Energy-Star rating for the entire home. Green certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program and renewable energy sources such as wind and geothermal were seen as unlikely.

 marvin window 

Low-e, argon-filled windows will be a must-have feature in homes of the future. Photo courtesy of Marvin Windows

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