Housing Market Recovery Means High Architect Demand

January 16th, 2014 by Diane Moore

After being at the prominence for housing distress during the period of downturn, California is on its way of the housing market recovery. Resale coupled with new home inventories have declined to all-time lows. The prices are surging. Fast sales and multiple offers have become more common in the desirable neighborhoods of the state.

Housing Market Recovery Means High Architect Demand

Housing Market Recovery Means High Architect Demand 

Even though investors are playing a major role in this recovery phase by captivating distressed inventory, the traditional buyers who are usually on the sidelines have returned in droves, planning to purchase before prices soar.


Here are some interesting facts on the housing market in California:


  • Resale home values this year have gone up by 11% compared to the same period last year, as stated by the Burns Home Value Index. Around 66% of the market with the highest home value appreciation in the US is in California.

  • About 90% of resold homes in Sacramento, San Francisco and other important cities in Southern California have been pulling in multiple bids.

  • Permits on single-family dwellings have gone up by 41% compared to the previous year. However, they are still around 33% of traditional averages.

  • Foreclosure notices in California have fallen by 68% compared to the previous year and by 28% in the nation. This can be attributed to a new law in California which prevents the dual tracking of foreclosures.

Demand for Architecture Recovers along with the Housing Market


Along with the recovery of commercial real estate in California, architects have been reporting a growth in their businesses compared to the last eight years. According to Q1 Home Design Trends Survey carried out by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the demand for architectural services in designing luxury or custom homes, starter homes and move-up homes have sharply increased in Q1 2013. 


The Home Design Survey Index for the last quarter witnessed 75 out of 100 for new project inquires and 67 out of 100 for billings. A score above 50 shows productive business conditions, as stated by AIA. Kermit Baker, Chief Economist of AIA says that the business conditions at architectural companies designing for both residential and commercial real estate is at the strongest level of growth ever since 2005. He adds that this is a sign of encouragement for the housing sector and the economy of the country as well.


An index that finds out the demand for particular kinds of homes discovered that the architectural demands for designing move up homes went up to a score of 32 in Q1 2013 from -3 a year ago. The same period witnessed the demand for starter homes jumping to 21 from -7 in addition to the demand for luxury and custom homes increasing to 16 from -2.


Many architectural companies reported an increase in demand for remodeling of bath and kitchen, informal spaces, in-home accessibility and open-space layouts in the first quarter of 2013.

Most Popular Architectural Trends in California for 2013


Most Popular Architectural Trends in California

Most Popular Architectural Trends in California

Here is a list of the favorite architectural styles for 2013, which design professionals and manufacturers believe are emerging and will soon make significant inroads:

  • Less costly and smart automated controls


With our lives getting busier and the costs of automation coming down sharply, it has become greatly affordable to control the systems of a residential or commercial real estate property-security, temperature, lighting, electronics etc-with the help of a single device-maybe from an iPod, iPad or iPhone.


By doing this, you can get rid of multiple controls, which can lead to easy management in your home even in your absence, according to Jim Carroll, founder of Savant Systems, designer and developer of integrated automation solutions.

  • Screened Porches and outdoor living rooms


A trend which was initiated a few years ago continues to be a strong inspiration for home owners who want to think beyond decks and terraces. These spaces can add value to a room. Some spaces act as courtyards which can offer greater privacy. These places have glass windows which are highly efficient and are therefore seamless as well as energy-smart.


In addition, aiding to blur lines between indoor and outdoor spaces is a growth in the use of screened porches. These porches have gained extra indoor accouterments like fireplaces, which makes them more livable.

  • Modular Design


Prefabrication has been making a powerful comeback in both residential and commercial real estate properties, since the benefits of faster and greener production techniques have become highly appealing to companies wanting to reduce building and operating expenses.


With the help of modular construction, various units can be arranged in a stack and organized into aesthetically enticing, functional designs, which displays an eco-conscious attitude. Aluminum paneling, clean lines along with energy-efficient glass give commercial real estate properties a modern look that will populate the corridors of the world.

  • Vegetable gardens, outdoor kitchens and more


There is a rising interest in outdoor food preparation of all types-from an ordinary grill to an elaborate built-in cook station with storage, sink, pizza oven, refrigerator, counter tops and beer tap. The latest amenities consist of a hybrid grill that allows cooking with both charcoal or wood and gas, and prefabricated kitchens which are cost-effective, according to Sacramento-based Michael Glassman, a landscape designer.


Many homeowners like the idea of a vegetable garden with raised beds to prevent excessive bending. Glassman recommends beginning with something ordinary which home owners would like to cook and eat-peppers, garlic, tomatoes and herbs for spaghetti sauce or gazpacho. Essentials are drainage, healthy soil and water that are readily available.

  • Themed Designs


Following years of simple contemporary design, themed designs are finally making a comeback, says Blanche Garcia, a designer from Montclair. Many home owners these days are requesting for a European flair, such as velvet pillows and antique sconces. Also, due to the hype generated from the recent royal wedding, people are asking for British-style motifs. These include red phone booths, crown and floral patterns, hounds tooth and Union jack flags.

  • Low impact


All commercial real estate properties have a great impact on the surrounding environment. However, as properties have grown in resource-needs and size, this impression has become sustainably painful. Plants and trees are deprived of light by the surrounding skyscrapers as these sprawling properties take up a huge amount of usable land.


A new architectural trend is to cut down this impact by means of wise environmentally friendly design and structural engineering. The properties which are being built today use a lattice-like design which maximizes sunlight. They also have raised living spaces which make room for pedestrian space and open parks. The open areas can be used for solar energy production and rain water harvesting.

Architect Design chosen by Celebrities

  • Matt Damon


Matt Damon’s home in Hollywood Hills is built on an area of 8890 square feet and has six bedrooms and eight bathrooms. The huge property has hardwood floors, ceilings of height 35 feet and walls which are made purely of glass. Besides the big number of bedrooms in the house, it also boasts of a large gym, an open atrium and an office in addition to maid quarters. Matt Damon bought the property for $ 15 million in late August.

  • Katy Perry


Despite breaking off with Russell Brand, pop star Katy Perry is hanging on to the home in Hollywood Hills, which the couple bought for $6.5 million. The property, which is built on a sprawling area of 8835 square foot, has a main house of three stories, guest house along with a patio and a swimming pool besides rock features.


The main home has been described as an abode of the 20th Century. It was constructed in 1953 and has an open floor plan, modern angular roof and floor-to-ceiling walls of window. The main concept was to include the outdoor with the indoor living spaces. It is therefore clean and has a seamless feel all over. The kitchen has the latest appliances and has an eat-in bar which is both quaint and cozy.

  • Brad Pitt


Wife, Angelina Jolie, spent approximately $ 20 million to purchase an island for Brad Pitt’s 50th birthday. The retreat boasts of two properties which were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright-a favorite architect of Pitt. The house is perfect for a family retreat or family getaways.


The property, which was built on a hill resembling a heart, has multiple sky-lit rooms. It has wood and rock fixtures which give it a natural look.

To Sum Up


California is figured in the list of states that was hard hit by the crisis, which saw home values go down by 45% throughout the state. Even though prices have rebound and foreclosures are slumping, certain regions in the state, particularly smaller metropolitan areas are troubled by a high rate of unemployment and struggling markets.

California is a leading state in terms of the commercial real estate

California is a leading state in terms of the commercial real estate

Nonetheless, the process of housing recovery is moving in a positive direction. Sales of houses priced between $ 300,000 to $ 800,000 in 2012 went up by 49.6% compared to the previous year, while sales of homes which cost more than $ 500,000 soared by 74% year-over-year.


Simultaneously, an improvement in architecture billings has been seen for the first time in the last four years. The Architecture Billings Index went up to 53.2 points in November. Kermit Baker, chief economist of AIA says that the rise in billings shows improvement in the housing market. The only point of concern, according to analysts, is that the housing market, which is showing signs of a swift recovery, can in fact slow down in the months ahead.



Diane is a highly-qualified translator of the English, Italian and Spanish languages. She has studied extensively in Italy and Switzerland. She writes about a variety of financial services industries including insurance. She has a love of life and a curiosity that drives her both personally and professionally.

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