Pandemic Buoying Custom Design Sector, AIA Says

WASHINGTON, DC — The COVID-19 pandemic has buoyed the custom residential design sector while impacting homeowner design preferences and increasing demand for multi-generational housing accommodations, according to the latest “Home Design Trends Survey” conducted by the American Institute of Architects.

The AIA’s fourth-quarter 2020 survey, focusing on community and neighborhood design, also revealed a decline in homeowner demand for higher-density development, reversing a multi-year trend. Project billings, inquiries and design contracts also rebounded from a record decline in the first quarter. All custom residential sectors reported improved market conditions, with home improvement reporting the strongest gains.

“The uneven impact of the pandemic on specific construction sectors is nowhere more apparent than in custom residential,” said Kermit Baker, chief economist of the Washington, DC-based AIA. “Although 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.”

The AIA’s Home Design Trends Surveys are conducted quarterly among a panel of more than 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector.


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