Survey: Outdoor Kitchens Making a Comeback

A few years ago, outdoor kitchens were considered a hot amenity. In a December 2015 survey by the National Home Builders Association, builders indicated that outdoor kitchens would be one of the least likely features to be added to new single-family homes in 2016. But now, architects say homeowners and prospective buyers are showing resurgent demand for outdoor cooking spaces, according to the American Institute of Architects’ most recent Home Design Trends Survey.

“Homeowners continue to find ways to add value to their homes by creating more functional space, which is apparent in the rise in popularity of outdoor kitchens,” says Kermit Baker, chief economist of the AIA. “Kitchens have become a hub for the home. Now homeowners want to bring some of that activity to their outside space.”

Many buyers will even pay a premium for outdoor kitchens, according to a realtor.com® survey last year. Researchers found that buyers were willing to pay up to 26 percent more for a home with an outdoor kitchen compared to a similar home without one in the same ZIP code.

When it comes to indoor kitchens, homeowners continue to eye certain upgrades, with the most desired being a charging station or computer area, a double island, high-end appliances, and sensory faucets, according to AIA.

Source: “Outdoor Kitchens: Still on the Way Out?” RISMedia (April 15, 2017) and “Are Outdoor Kitchens on the Outs?” RISMedia (March 17, 2016)

What’s Topping Home Buyers’ Shopping Lists?

Home buyers are looking for storage, energy efficiency and outdoor space, according to the latest preference survey released by the National Association of Home Builders and Better Homes and Gardens during the NAHB International Builders’ Show this week.

Some of the top new-home desires cited by home buyers of all ages include separate laundry rooms, energy-star appliances and windows, exterior lighting, and a patio.

On the other hand, buyers are showing less interest in cork flooring, elevators, pet washing stations, expensive outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, and two-story entryways and family rooms, the survey reveals.

Source: National Association of Home Builders

Bet on These Home Improvements in 2015

So what seven home improvements made their list of the safest bets?

  1. Quartz Countertops: For years it was all about the granite counters, but it appears that quartz is all the rage these days for buyers. According to Redfin, quartz has experienced a huge increase since 2012, due to its durability and overall buyer granite fatigue.
  2. Smart Homes: While Smart Home design is overall still a niche with buyers, it’s a phrase that has experienced an explosion in listing mentions since 2012. Redfin agents caution that buyers really need to choose a smart home system with the most up-to-date software since smart home technology is rapidly evolving.
  3. Stainless Steel Appliances: This trend is here to stay, and it has only increased in popularity since 2011. According to a Redfin agent, stainless steel is “the gold standard for kitchens these days” and it appears to be a very safe home improvement bet.
  4. Fire Pits: Buyers are still interested in turning their backyards into relaxing areas with multiple focal points that encourages interaction and socializing, and adding a fire pit remains a popular upgrade.
  5. Tasting Rooms: In the high-end and luxury market, the term “tasting” has slowly increased in listings over the last five years. In the past, buyers hid their wine cellars away from the main focal point of the house, but these days they’re requesting tasting rooms that are adjacent to the main socializing rooms of the house, such as the kitchen and living rooms.
  6. Outdoor Kitchens: Along with fire pits, outdoor kitchens and multi-use backyard areas have only gained in popularity, especially for high-end buyers who mention socializing in the home as a priority. According to Redfin, “Backyards are becoming places to lounge during the summer, with full kitchens, fireplaces and televisions.”
  7. Freestanding Tubs: The days of the space-saving combined shower and tub are over, at least for luxury buyers. Redfin reports that the term “freestanding tub” has increased dramatically since 2011, as buyers want a bathroom that’s more reminiscent of a spa.

Source: “7 Home Improvement Projects That Are a Safe Bet for 2015,” Redfin (Feb. 4, 2015)

3 Big Trends in Residential Design

At the combined International Builders Show and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas last week, REALTOR® Magazine picked up on the key trends to watch for in the coming year and beyond.

The question on everyone’s mind was what are going to be the game-changers in 2015? Looking over our notes, we found three major insights that the real estate industry should be watching out for. Find out how:

  • Foodies are changing mainstream kitchen design
  • Connected devices may be in for a tumble
  • Gray is here to stay, but it’ll have to share the stage

Get the details on these three predictions for residential design in “Designers, Builders Reveal Hot Trends for 2015.” Also, be sure to check out our other show coverage, including a tour of the New American Home and a few things you might not know about what consumers want from outdoor kitchens.