Grow­ing trends in to­day’s homes

Belleville News-Democrat (Sunday) - - Homes Jobs -

Although the hey­days of the real es­tate boom of the early 2000s have not quite re­turned, things look pos­i­tive. In the United States, 1,226,000 new homes were built in 2016, ac­cord­ing to data from Con­sumer Re­ports. That was the most since 2007.

Re­sales also have been more promis­ing. The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors ® says the me­dian num­ber of days a home was on the mar­ket in April 2017 reached a new low of 29 days. How­ever, low sup­ply lev­els did stanch ex­ist­ing home sales some­what. By mid-2017, the mar­ket was a seller’s mar­ket, with more peo­ple in the mar­ket for homes than prop­er­ties avail­able. But sales dur­ing that time were still out­pac­ing sales fig­ures from a year prior. In fact, in May 2017, home sales in Canada in­creased to their high­est level in more than five years, ac­cord­ing to the Cana­dian MLS ® Sys­tems.

Low in­ter­est rates on mort­gages and more con­fi­dence in the econ­omy has driven many peo­ple to make im­prove­ments to their ex­ist­ing homes. As is typ­i­cal, the things home­own­ers are look­ing for in 2017 have evolved from years past. The fol­low­ing are some trends that are help­ing to steer the real es­tate mar­ket fur­ther.

• Smaller homes: Home sizes in the United States steadily in­creased for decades, even­tu­ally lead­ing to an av­er­age of 2,453 square feet in 2014, ac­cord­ing to U.S. Cen­sus fig­ures. How­ever, Re­al­ re­ported in 2015 that new con­struc­tion homes have al­ready be­gun to shrink by 40 square feet. There seems to be a slight trend to­ward more mod­est homes as peo­ple con­sider af­ford­abil­ity and main­te­nance on larger prop­er­ties. The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Home Builders states buy­ers are now look­ing for smaller, more liv­able homes with flex­i­ble floor plans, en­ergy-ef­fi­cient ap­pli­ances and plenty of stor­age space.

• Matte fin­ishes: Stain­less steel and lus­ter have been pop­u­lar for years. How­ever, the next big thing is matte fin­ishes on faucets, ap­pli­ances and even in coun­ter­tops. These less flashy fin­ishes are prized for their warmth and el­e­gance. While some high-end mod­els with matte fin­ishes have been avail­able for sev­eral years, even less ex­pen­sive mod­els are now avail­able.

• Smarter tech­nol­ogy: Many home­own­ers are em­brac­ing smart tech­nol­ogy through­out their homes, but it’s not just lights that turn on with voice com­mand or more ef­fi­cient ther­mostats. In­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy in­cludes toi­lets that can au­tonomously stay clean and san­i­tized, re­frig­er­a­tors equipped with cam­eras so home­own­ers can see the con­tents in­side and in­door food re­cy­clers that can turn food waste into fer­til­izer.

Stayingabreast of the ever-chang­ing trends in home­im­prove­ment and real es­tate can help con­sumers make the best choices with re­gard to buy­ing and build­ing their homes.

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