Why Area Listings Resemble Fashion In Mens Ties

Dated: 01/15/2015

Views: 640

    It’s a little like fashion in men’s ties. The really wide or narrow ones you laugh at today will be back in style sooner or later. There’s an analogy in our Portland and Vancouver area listings.

    After the financial crisis in 2007, the average size of homes began to shrink. One major casualty was the “specialty room.” Specialty rooms (or special function rooms) are any room that serves a non-standard purpose. In the Portland and Vancouver area listings, you find them described as gyms, saunas, home offices, laundry rooms, home theaters, au-pair suites, “man-caves” and outdoor living rooms.

    These are extras: desirable, but not really necessary. Once home sizes began to shrink, buyers demonstrated that they were willing to do without. But today, as the real estate market recovers and budgets loosen, home sizes are sharply on the rise. New home builders report year-over-year square footage growth of 10% to 13%...and listings have already begun to indicate that specialty rooms are on the way back, too.

    Image titleMud Rooms: More Popular

    The American Institute of Architects 2013 Home Design Trends survey noted that mud rooms and outdoor living areas are increasing in popularity, with 45% of the residential architects who responded noting increased interest in mud rooms—and just 1% claiming a decline.

    Au Pair and In-Law Suites Increase

    Another interesting trend is the increase in Portland and Vancouver area listings that include au-pair or in-law suites. Aging family members who require assistance account for part of the trend, as do dual breadwinning families for whom live-in childcare is a necessity.   

    Home Office Popularity: Slight Decline

    In prior years, the AIA Survey found the Home Office rated as the most popular special function room. In last year’s survey, home offices fell into third place, with only 22% of the architects reporting interest in them. Whether that reflects in Portland and Vancouver area listings or not remains to be seen, but if so I suspect it could be due to the improved technology and portability of laptops and tablets: they simply no longer require a dedicated room in the house.

    With the economy showing strength and house prices expected to rise this year, we’ve probably just seen the beginning of the resurgence of listings in Portland and Vancouver area featuring more specialty rooms. And if you are thinking of buying or selling yourself, don’t wait to contact me to discuss taking advantage of the upcoming spring market!

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