June 15, 2024


Interior spice

More seek to tear down homes

The American Institute of Architects, based in D.C., said 52% of its members have seen an increase in inquiries for tear downs.

The American Institute of Architects, based in D.C., said 52% of its members have seen an increase in inquiries for tearing down houses.

“Tear downs are always a phenomenon when home prices are increasing,” said Kermit Baker, chief economist for the American Institute of Architects.

“The most common reason for a tear down is a small, post-World II cape or ranch that was built kind of outside the city way back when, but now has become a more desirable suburb,” he said.

Its quarterly Home Design Trends survey also notes an increase in interest in multigenerational housing, likely driven in part by the pandemic’s effect on housing affordability.

“It is finishing space or adding space, potentially even adding another living room that would also have a kitchen and bath and its own living and bedroom space. Sometimes these are building additions that may be on the property that may or may not be connected to the house,” he said.

The institute reports less interest in the third quarter of 2020 than in the third quarter of 2019 in infill development, access to public transportation, higher-density development and mixed-use facilities.

The American Institute for Architects reports project billings, inquiries and design contracts all rebounded last quarter from a record decline in the first quarter of 2020. All custom residential sectors saw improved market conditions with home improvement reporting the strongest gains.

“Though the initial impact of the pandemic hit residential architects hard, a stay-at-home lifestyle and the desire for more space and less density has increased homeowners’ desires to modify their accommodations,” Baker said.

On average, architectural firms reported a 6% increase in the value of backlogs from the second quarter of 2020 to the third quarter.

The Home Design Trends Survey is online.

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