7 Surprising Design Trends for the Home: Which Has Staying Power?

7 Surprising Design Trends for the Home: Which Has Staying Power?

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Bold colored vanities and vinyl flooring are gaining more clout in home design. Last week at the 2019 International Builder Show and the Kitchen & Bath Industry show, thousands of designers and builders talked trends as vendors showed off their latest innovations for the home.

Here are a few of the surprises I spotted through 608,000 square feet on the Expo show floor:

1. Colorful bathrooms. 

A range of hues were shown in the bathroom, as some forecasters looked to add more color into what has mostly been a neutral color palette over the last few years.

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

Kohler showed off purple and blue sinks as well as a purple clawfoot bathtub. Several vanities on display were in grays, blues, greens, and even pink.

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

2. Colored cabinets. 

Speaking of color, I lost count of just how many shades of various colors I spotted on kitchen cabinets on the Expo floor. White is still supreme for kitchens, but there is a growing trend of more “moody colors” being used, says Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz, a home remodeling website. Grays, navy’s, greens, and reds are all being used to add more color to the kitchen. Two-toned cabinets—where the upper cabinetry may be in white and then the bottom cabinetry are in navy—also was popular on the show floor.

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

3. Vinyl flooring. 

Sitchinava called vinyl flooring a rising star in home design, a sentiment  echoed by many other designers at the show. “Vinyl comes in a lot of colors, textures, and lots of different options,” Sitchinava says. “It’s an easy-on-your-feet material, and consumers are recognizing that. … It’s very conducive to aging in place, and many baby boomers are driving this trend.” The flooring leaders in the kitchen remain ceramic/porcelain tile, followed by hardwoods, and then engineered wood or laminate. But vinyl flooring is quickly gaining popularity in home remodels, and Sitchinava calls it one to watch in 2019.

Designer Julianna Dykstra with Distinctive Bathroom & Kitchen Inc. in Ottawa, Canada, also is seeing a rise of “luxury” vinyl flooring in her market, particularly for the kitchen and bath. The water-resistant material is mostly being used in grays or whites, she says.

4. Floating toilets and beds. 

To add some drama to a space, designers are floating objects. Floating toilets—those installed into the wall instead of the floor—are helping to open up the space in bathrooms. On the Expo floor, Kohler showed this black floating toilet:

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

Also, at the 2019 New American Home, a show home of this year’s IBS, the master bed was suspended by steel cables and it appeared like it was floating in air.

Photo credit: Jeff Davis / Jeffrey A. Davis Photography

5. Bling for your appliance handles. 

To dress up appliances, CAFÉ, within the GE Appliance brand, has launched customizable hardware options in various metals, such as brushed bronze, brushed stainless, or brushed black. Homeowners add different finishes to their stainless steel, matted white, or matted black refrigerator or stove. For example, soft brushed copper hardware handles can be added to a matted white refrigerator for a more contemporary vibe.

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

6. Roll down shelves. 

As cabinets get taller, reaching for those higher up shelves can be a challenge. At the Wellborn Cabinet booth, the company showed off iMove shelves that feature a pull down feature at the edge of the upper shelf. You just pull on the handle and it gradually brings the shelf to eye level.

Photo credit: Wellborn Cabinet

7. Roll away walls. 

Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors were popular at IBS 2019 in showcasing seamless indoor and outdoor living. Most of these glass doors were displayed on long, straight walls that could be rolled completely away–via pocket doors that disappear into the walls–to open the interior of the home to the outdoor space. Some firms also showed how you can add sliding glass pocket windows to tuck them away when wanting to open up the house to the outdoors, or even curved areas of the home with rounded floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors.

Photo credit: REALTOR(R) Magazine

Which of these trends do you think has staying power? 

January 2019 Existing-Home Sales

January 2019 Existing-Home Sales

  • NAR released a summary of existing-home sales data showing that housing market activity this January, fell for the third straight month and was down 1.2 percent from December 2018. Sales of existing homes dropped 8.5 percent from January 2018. January’s existing home sales reached a 4.94 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, the lowest since November 2015.
  • The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $247,500 in January, up 2.8 percent from a year ago. This marks the 83rd consecutive month of year-over-year gains. Despite the gains in prices, this January marks the slowest price growth since February 2012.
  • Regionally, all four regions showed growth in prices from a year ago. The West had largest gain of 2.9 percent followed by the South with a gain of 2.5 percent. The Midwest had an increase of 1.4 percent followed by the Northeast with a modest incline of 0.4 from January 2018.
  • January’s inventory figures are up from last month 3.9 percent to 1.59 million homes for sale. Compared with January of 2018, there was a 4.6 percent increase in inventory levels. It will take 3.9 months to move the current level of inventory at the current sales pace. It takes approximately 49 days for a home to go from listing to a contract in the current housing market, up from 42 days a year ago.
  • From December 2018, the Northeast was the only region to have an incline in sales of 2.9 percent. The West had the biggest decline of 2.9 percent followed by the Midwest with a dip of 2.5 percent. The South had the smallest decline of 1.0 percent.
  • All four regions showed declines in sales from a year ago. The West had the biggest drop in sales of 13.8 percent. The South had a decline of 8.4 percent followed by the Midwest with a drop of 7.9 percent. The Northeast had the smallest drop in sales of 1.4 percent. The South led all regions in percentage of national sales, accounting for 42.1 percent of the total, while the Northeast had the smallest share at 14.2 percent.
  • In January, single-family sales were down 1.8 percent and condominiums sales were down 3.6 percent compared to last month. Single-family home sales fell 8.4 percent and condominium sales were down 9.5 compared to a year ago. Single-family homes had an increase in price up 3.1 percent at $249,400 and condominiums modestly rose 0.1 percent at $233,000 from January 2018.
Home Buying Conditions by State in January 2019

Home Buying Conditions by State in January 2019

Homebuying activity was essentially unchanged in January 2019 compared to one year ago, according to NAR’s January 2019 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey.[1] The REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index registered 52 in January 2019, just slightly above 50, a level that indicates no change in the overall direction of buyer traffic activity, One year ago, the REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index was at 69, a level that indicates homebuying traffic was broadly stronger compared to conditions one year ago. A lower index in one month compared to the level in another month slower activity during that former month, so the steep decline in the value of the index from 69 to 52 indicates homebuying conditions have slowed significantly from conditions one year ago.[2] The REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index has fallen below leads existing home sales by one to two months, so the January reading is an indicator of sales in the next one to two months.

Buyer traffic was broadly weaker during November and December 2018 and January 2019 compared to conditions one year ago in the District of Columbia and in states 16 states that included Oregon, California, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. However, buyer traffic conditions were broadly stronger during November and December 2018 and January 2019 compared to conditions one year ago in Idaho, Utah, Wisconsin, Indiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

The REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index has hovered at near 50 since August 2018 when the index fell to 51 and remained at below 50 through December 2018. The January reading of 52 indicates a slight upturn in homebuyer traffic as mortgage rates started falling in January 2019.  As of the week of February 14, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 4.37 percent, from a high of 4.94 in the weeks of November 8 and 15.[3]

REALTOR® Comments

Higher mortgage rates compared to one year ago, the negative effect on confidence of the government shutdown, the cap on deductions for property, state, and local income taxes, and the very cold weather were some factors cited by the respondents for the slowdown in buyer activity in their markets.

  • Respondents from some Midwest states— Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana— reported that the extremely cold weather held homebuying activity.
  • Some respondents from California, New York, and New Jersey reported the cap on deductions for property, state and local income taxes is negatively affecting sales.
  • A respondent from California also noted that the widespread wildfires in 2018 are still impacting home sales[4].
  • Respondents from Alabama, California, Nevada, Florida, Texas, and Virginia reported that the government shutdown appeared to have had an impact in homebuying activity.
  • Lack of supply, especially of affordable homes, continues to frustrate would-be homebuyers.
  • REALTORS® reported that higher mortgage rates (during October, November and December) discouraged buyers

To note, mortgage rates have started falling again since January 2019.[5] As of February 14, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage has fallen to 4.37 percent from 4.8 percent during the weeks of November 8 and 15. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is still slightly higher compared to the 3.95 percent in January 2018. The monthly increase in mortgage payment arising from a 0.5 percent increase in mortgage rates on a loan of $250,000 is about $73 per month.


[1]In a monthly survey of REALTORS®, NAR asks respondents “Compared to the same month (January) last year, how would you rate the past month’s traffic in neighborhood(s) or area(s) where you make most of your sales?” NAR compiles the responses into an index, where an index above 50 indicates that more respondents reported “stronger” traffic than “weaker” traffic.  In generating the buyer traffic index at the state level, NAR uses data for the last three surveys to have close to 30 observations. Small states such as AK, ND, SD, MT, VT, WY, WV, DE, and D.C., may have fewer than 30 observations. The index is not seasonally adjusted, so a year-over-year comparison is appropriate.

[2] The index is not seasonally adjusted, so a year-over-year comparison is appropriate compared to a month-to-month comparison in evaluating whether market conditions are improving or deteriorating.

[3] Freddie Mac’s survey of 30-year fixed rate mortgages

[4] Bloomberg reported that 876,000 acres were burned in California due to wildfires, citing data form the California Department of Forestry and Fire and Protection in Now California Wildfires Burn All Year; see https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-17/california-fires-burn-all-year-as-drought-left-state-a-tinderbox

[5] Rates started falling after Chairman Powell of the Federal Reserve Board announced in December 2018 that it was looking at one rate hike in 2019.

Using the Latest Decor Color and Trends to Attract Buyers

Using the Latest Decor Color and Trends to Attract Buyers

Guest Contributor: Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

The start of a new year in the real estate industry signals a prime opportunity for sellers to do what it takes to get their home noticed among the sea of listings soon to flood the spring market. After tackling the clutter, necessary repairs and updates, the key to making the best first impression for buyers is using on-trend styling touches to help them emotionally connect. Check out our suggestions below for ways of using some of the trends for 2019 to enhance a home’s features, engage buyers, and take your property from “For Sale” to “Sold” in no time.

A Neutral Gray Backdrop

We can’t say enough about the benefits of using gray or “greige” wall color when staging. This versatile neutral hue instantly brightens a space, enhances its unique features and can increase a property’s perceived size and value. We’re excited to try Benjamin Moore’s 2019 Color of The Year, Metropolitan, a soft, sophisticated, and calm gray that coordinates well with many on-trend palettes.

A Dash of Color

We love adding a little drama against a neutral backdrop of beautiful architectural elements by layering living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms with pops of bold color dispersed throughout a room. One of our favorite industry picks of the year is Pantone’s “Living Coral” for its energy, warmth, and cozy freshness. This color can also make a statement when paired with different shades of blues such as Behr’sColor of the Year pick “Blueprint,” as well as creams and different metallic accents.

Luxe Fabrics and Bold Patterns

We are seeing a lot of lush velvet fabrics and floral patterns in furniture and accents this year. A floral side chair or wall art, velvet pillows, and duvet covers, a patterned area rug, are just a few ways to add texture, depth, and the right amount of sophisticated style to complement a neutral space and grab buyers’ attention.

Mix Up Metals

A mixture of metal accents throughout a room will always be a timeless way to create balance and definition in a space. You can pair complementary finishes such as brass with chrome, copper with yellow gold, rose gold with stainless steel, or any combination of the above so your fixtures and decor create the “wow” factor that buyers will remember.

Elements from Nature

Using natural elements in the home is a trend that continues to gain popularity as people want to feel a connection to the outdoors. Plants in any size, shape or form such as potted succulents used as a dining table centerpiece, wall hangings, or floor plants in woven baskets have a naturally soothing quality that makes them well-suited for bedrooms and bathrooms in particular. Sustainable materials such as jute or seagrass rugs, natural woven pillows and throws, and pottery vases are also great accents for incorporating a welcoming, on-trend vibe into any space.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

Patti

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is principal, interior decorator, and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating. She has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full-service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for the luxury homebuilder, Toll Brothers. Her company received the Houzz 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Awards for Customer Service.

President’s Day 2019: How Does the White House Compare to the Average Home?

President’s Day 2019: How Does the White House Compare to the Average Home?

In the spirit of President’s Day we can use data from the 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers to see how the typical home differs from the White House.

Typical Home Purchased in the U.S.

  • 86% of buyers purchased a previously owned home, with 82% of buyers choosing a detached single-family home.
  • Looking by first-time and repeat buyers, both also purchased detached single-family homes more often with 80% of first-time buyers and 83% of repeat buyers.
  • 51% of all buyers purchased their home in a suburb/subdivision.
  • The typical detached single-family home purchased was 1,980 square feet.
  • Recent homes purchased also had a median of 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and were built in 1991.
  • Among all buyers, the expected length of tenure in the home purchased was 15 years.

The White House

  • The White House was built in 1792, and in comparison is located in an urban or central area.
  • The White House contains 6 levels, has 132 rooms, including 35 bathrooms.
  • It also includes features such as: a tennis court, jogging track, swimming pool, billiard room, movie theatre, and bowling alley.
  • While tenure in the median expected tenure in home lasts around 14 years, in the White House the expected tenure is between 4 and 8 years.

For more information on this data check out the President’s Day Infographic and the 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.