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Survey: Homeowner trends move toward low maintenance

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More homeowners are interested in smaller homes and lot sizes amid the prolonged economic downturn, according to the latest Home Design Trends survey from the American Institute of Architects.

The survey, released earlier this summer, suggests growing concerns about rising utility costs and lifestyle changes as U.S. households move away from upscale amenities.

Instead, the survey shows, homeowners are concerned with accessibility, particularly for the aging population, and flexible design with more informal space.

“We continue to move away from the ‘McMansion’ chapter of residential design, with more demand for practicality throughout the home,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, in a news release. Baker noted that popularity is waning for upscale enhancements such as decorative water features, tennis courts and gazebos.

The quarterly survey was conducted with a panel of 500 architectural firms with practices focused in the residential sector.

In the survey, 60 percent of respondents reported a desire for more in-home accessibility, and 56 percent expressed a preference for an open layout. Only 2 percent expressed an increased interest in lot size, and 40 percent said a single-floor home plan was desired.

“The preference … seems to be for more flexible, open and informal layouts that allow for both (ease of) movement and fostering a space more conducive to family living,” Baker added.

A preference for low-maintenance landscaping was noted by 63 percent of respondents, and 48 percent said they wanted blended indoor and outdoor layout.[[In-content Ad]]

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