Tighter housing market conditions, restricted lending activity and increased personal debt have always constricted homebuyer spending, but over the past year many of these trends have shifted, providing more people with the opportunity to upgrade their properties.
According to the American Institute of Architects, several popular home design elements have emerged that indicate a recovering real estate segment. For example, more homeowners are spending on their kitchens and baths, traditionally big-ticket items that carry a significant return on investment.
"Now that home prices have hit bottom and are beginning to recover, households are more willing to invest in their homes, looking for more features in new homes that they are purchasing, and willing to undertake higher-end home improvement projects," said Kermit Baker, chief economist at AIA. "Kitchens and baths tend to be the areas that households first look to when they want to upscale their home as markets improve, just as they remained a high priority even during the depths of the downturn."
Based on the AIA report, homeowners today are heavily interested in LED lighting, larger pantry space, wine refrigeration, upper-end appliances and drinking water filtration systems, among other features.
Green homes popular across the U.S.
In addition to a focus on the kitchen and bath, energy-efficient real estate is also increasingly popular across the country. In fact, several neighborhoods have emerged as prime locations for this type of homes.
According to Redfin, the location with the highest number of green listings is in Chicago, followed by Austin, Texas and Raleigh, N.C. These homes are likely to sell for more money, and many of them aren't even new properties. They are existing houses upgraded to appeal to a more environmentally friendly buyer.
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