Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Next Generation Of Custom Homes Is Becoming Smaller

The size of custom homes wanted by the average person is starting to become smaller.

After talking to scores of people at the last spring cottage life show 2015 (at our booth) a trend started to emerge. More people where talking about building homes that were under 2500 sqft.

This is a dramatic change from the previous 10 years where the homes have not just gotten larger but they have also gotten more elaborate with the cost per sqft of the custom homes rising every year.

I talked to a lot of different people about building custom homes, the majority of them wanted to build a bungalow style home instead of the traditional two story design. In previous years this was usually attributed to people wanting to retire into the home and wanted to limit the amount of stairs that they would have to climb, but the people that I talked to about building bungalows this spring have ranged in age from the 70’s down to the 30’s.

There are several reasons for this change in thinking about the size of custom homes;

Utility costs have risen so fast in the past 5 years that people are looking minimize the amount of square feet that they will have to heat and cool.

Seniors are looking toward their golden years and they don’t want to have to climb stairs or have to clean an overly large home.

The younger generation that are in their 30’s and 40 do not have the capital that the baby boomer generation have and so they can’t afford to build or live in larger homes.

The younger generation has a strong belief in leaving a smaller environmental footprint, smaller homes use less resources to build and also to maintain. They also believe in a little simpler living.

Families are smaller than they have been in the past; most families only have 1 child or possibly two. Baby boomers are empty nesters and only need a second bedroom for when guests drop by. This allows people of both generations to build homes with less bedrooms and less washrooms.

In the past people who wanted smaller homes have been content on buying track built homes (sub-division), this is starting to change. The cost of sub-division homes continues to rise with the size of the lot they are being built on getting ever smaller. What is changing is that people are starting to realize that track built homes are constructed so poorly that for a little extra money they can have a custom home that is built to a higher standard and built the way that they want it. A custom home has a higher resale value then a track built home and has the ability to have a far greater return on their investment. With custom homes being better insulated there is a savings as well on the heating and cooling costs going forward as well.

Custom home builders are ideally suited to adapt with the change as they are able to build homes from 1000 sqft to 10,000 sqft. They are also able to build a home as simple as someone wants or as elaborate as they require it to be.

Welcome to the new generation of smaller more efficient homes.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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