What will new homes look like in 2015?

WASHINGTON – Dec. 6, 2011 – Members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) were asked earlier this year what they anticipate the new home size will be 2015. While the size of new American homes has been shrinking for years, the builders offered some insights into what home features will start to disappear and which will become more popular.

In terms of square footage, the anticipated drop isn’t drastic. Currently, single-family homes measure an average of 2,400 square feet, a slight decrease from an average of around 2,521 square feet five years ago. In 2015, industry professionals believe it will drop to around 2,150 square feet.

To make up for less square footage, many new homes won’t have living rooms. Of the builders surveyed, 52 percent believe traditional living rooms will be combined into other areas of the home, such as family rooms and kitchens, to form “great rooms.” About 30 percent of builders believe the living room will vanish entirely.

Also likely to become less in demand by 2015? Mudrooms, formal dining rooms, skylights, sunrooms, three-season porches, media rooms, butler ‘s pantries, and homes exceeding four bedrooms and three bathrooms.

However, surveyed builders expect to see more ceiling fans, larger laundry rooms, eat-in kitchens, first-floor master suites with walk-in closets, kitchens with double sinks and recessed lighting. And while two-car garages won’t go anywhere, demand will probably sink for three-car garages.

Sixty-eight percent of builders surveyed say that energy-saving technologies and features including low-E windows, energy-efficient appliances and LED lighting will be common, along with other green features, such as engineered wood products, dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets. Whole-house Energy Star certification is likely to become the norm for new homes in 2015, but LEED certification will not. Green features considered “somewhat likely” to be in new homes include argon windows, tankless water heaters, above-code insulation, and solar photovoltaic and thermal systems.

Says Stephen Melman, director of Economic Services with the NAHB: “Although affordability is driving these decisions, smaller homes are a positive for builders. It allows for more creative design, more amenities, better flow. It’s an opportunity to deliver a better home.”

© 2011 Mother Nature Network, Matt Hickman. Distributed by MCT Information Services.