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PROPERTY: The Future is Less House, More Home

 





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All the statistics show that buyer preferences are tending towards smaller homes at the moment – and not just because that’s all that’s available or all they can afford.

So says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group, who notes that a major new study by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) in the US shows that by 2015, the average new home will not only be at least 10% smaller than now, but also much “greener”, more packed with technology and more suited to the smaller modern family unit.

Writing in the latest Property Signposts newsletter, he says the NAHB acknowledges that the economic downturn has accelerated the trend, with smaller homes obviously costing less to build, buy and maintain.

“Most of today's consumers, the report says, are also very focused on keeping utility costs down and, because appreciation is slow, lack the equity to upgrade to bigger homes. However, it says they might not want to anyway, since the average family size is shrinking and changing lifestyles mean a growing preference for convenience over space.”

For example, Everitt says, it is expected that the exclusive lounge or living room will increasingly either merge with a family room/ great room including a kitchen area, or become a smaller study/ library or music room.

“And although SA does not exactly follow the US market, a similar trend is emerging in new developments here, with more space often taking a back seat now to ‘green’ features such as solar geysers, water-saving measures and energy-efficient appliances.

“In short, function is rapidly becoming at least as important as form, which is a major shift for house-proud South Africans and one that potential home sellers should note.”


 
 
 
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