Sunday, May 17, 2020

Unique Housing Trends Coming Our Way

A lot of things influence what buyers want when designing their new homes. Over the past 100 years family size has decreased while new home square footage has increased. 

100 hundred years ago many homes saw multiple generations living under one roof but that changed after WWII with the housing boom. Today, multi-generational living is returning.

50 years ago nobody would have ever dreamed of living in a tiny house on wheels built on a utility trailer from Tractor Supply. Nor would they ever have given a thought to living in a steel shipping container. Today both of these are a reality.

New home buyers are able to live just about any way they want to, if they can afford it. Shipping container homes are coming of age, tiny houses are now being built in factories and Auxiliary Housing Units (ADU) are going mainstream with companies like Urbaneer being one of the leaders.

Major new home tract builders have moved their main efforts from building communities of single family homes to packing land with as many 18-20’ wide three story townhouses as they are allowed. Rows of townhouses packed so tightly together they almost look like small cities are being built in rural settings simply because the people buying them can no longer afford a single family home on a lot with grass, a driveway and a detached garage. 

A lot of the new modular home factories built recently are simply designed to feed this market. Hundreds of modules built to the same floor plan are being produced and sent hundreds of miles to end up as affordable three story townhouses set in a field. 

Those changes are already here but the COVID-19 pandemic will see a couple new housing trends added including dedicated home office space, learning centers equipped with video communication networking, expanding kitchens into the living space as more of us prepare meals at home. Many people learned to cook during COVID-19 and actually liked it.

More video surveillance features will be added to both the exterior and interior of new homes as fear of having our personal space violated grows. 

A new home builder recently told me he had a request for secured front and rear entries with the front and rear doors leading into an alcove with a remote lock on another set of exterior doors so that delivery drivers can be isolated. The couple was very afraid of becoming infected through personal touch by the driver.

This trend is being called by some the “Shut-In” attitude. 

Google and Zoom interaction, live streaming meetings, church services, weddings, funerals and other events are very quickly becoming the new way we live.

My church is live streaming daily and even after the restrictions are lifted they will continue to do it as many parishioners don’t want to be around large groups of people any more.

Sheltering in place is now part of our vocabulary and to think we can simply forget what has happened over the past 3 months and go back to the way it used to be is not going to happen.

This pandemic has made us look at things differently and with the advances in Internet connectivity and new technology being thrust on us every day to encourage our new “Shut-In” attitude, the modular housing industry as well as every aspect of housing is about to change once more and we need to be prepared for these changes in what people want in their new homes.

Gary Fleisher is a housing veteran, editor/writer of the ModcoachNews blog and Modular Construction Industry Observer and Information Gatherer


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