What’s currently in vogue?
We look to national mega-builder DR Horton, Inc. for answers.
Houses are built larger or smaller as the economy shifts, or as family dynamics change and people upsize or downsize, and new home trends, features and designs create demand. We talked to one of the largest homebuilders in the country, DR Horton, Inc., based in Arlington, Texas. They build homes in 26 states with varying styles, floorplans, features and price points. Here’s our Q&A session with Horton’s Vice President of Communications, Jessica Hansen:
Question: Right now, are houses getting smaller or larger? What about the lots they are built on?
Answer: DR Horton and its family of brands offers a broad selection of homes for customers at every stage of life, from first-time homebuyers seeking value, to move-up and luxury buyers seeking more room for their families, and empty nesters downsizing into a more low-maintenance home. Home sizes range from approximately 1,000 square feet to more than 5,000 square feet based on brand, market and location. While some homebuyers want a yard for their children to play in, buyers of our active adult brand, Freedom Homes, are often seeking smaller properties that require less exterior maintenance.
Q: How about the exterior detailing—still traditional and classic, or a bit more contemporary. And how is that reflected in details, colors and materials?
A: Exterior facades, interior finishes and floor plans vary significantly by region and markets. In our west coast markets, home trends favor a more modern design while the traditional style continues to be popular in many of our south and east coast markets.
Q: What about interior layouts. Do they reflect the trend toward more open plans, or is there still separation of spaces?
A: Overall, open floor plans continue to be very popular and open concept kitchen and living areas are in high demand. While some buyers may opt for a separate dining space, others may prefer to make the room a study, hobby or craft room, exercise room or guest room. Also growing in popularity is the outdoor living area, which often includes a paved covered patio for outdoor dining or living, as well as multi-generational floor plans that include private secondary living areas and kitchens for returning college students or aging family members.
Q: Share with us one major interior home building trend in your niche?
A: DR Horton offers “Flex-Spaces”, which allow our customers the flexibility to determine how they desire to use a room based on their specific needs.
Q: Would you share the importance of basement or crawl spaces, and does it depend most on the area of the country?
A: Basements or crawl spaces continue to be a regional preference and are most popular in our northern and east coast markets.
Q: What about main floor master bedrooms. Is there interest among your buyers? Also, what is the most common number of bathrooms and bedrooms that comprise most of your designs?
A: Customers with families often enjoy the value in our entry-level brand, Express Homes, and may prefer a master bedroom on the second floor, which is close to children’s bedrooms. Customers of our luxury and move-up brand, Emerald Homes, may opt, however, for more space and a private master retreat on the main floor. As for bedroom count and master bedroom location preferences vary by region and brand.
Q: What are the most important features that homebuyers are interested in today that get them to close on a deal. Like appliances, extra storage, or features like fireplaces and hardwood floors?
A: DR Horton and its family of brands seek to provide homebuyers with a variety of options that fit their special needs, preferences and budgets, including a range of flooring choices, outdoor living areas, amenity or recreation facilities that encourage community engagement, and even private secondary living spaces for multi-generational families. For those seeking a new home who don’t want to wait to have one built, we offer a large selection of move-in ready homes in many of our 79 markets across the country.
Q: What do you see happening over the next few years as millennials buy new homes and as more baby-boomers downsize, also considering the trend of walkable urban areas?
A: DR Horton introduced its Express Homes brand in 2014 to provide an affordable option for many first-time homebuyers who were previously priced out of the housing market. Today, the brand has grown to 56 markets in 19 states, and Express Homes continues to be a popular option for this cohort. We then started to see the popularity of the brand with baby boomers interested in down-sizing to a smaller home. That’s when we introduced our Freedom Homes brand in 2016, which offers primarily single-story homes located in low-maintenance communities specifically designed with the active adult buyer in mind. Freedom Homes currently has locations in 15 markets in 12 states, including Texas, Arizona and Florida, and we expect to continue expanding to new markets.
For more information on DR Horton model homes, floor plans and communities, visit www.drhorton.com