I can't tell you how many times I have gone through neighborhoods with buyers where they say that all the homes look-alike. Since about the 1950s, tracked homes in larger communities or developments have offered just one or two designs. They might change the color slightly, but if you're not that coherent coming home one night you might be stumbling into someone else's house.
The cookie-cutter look of a house or neighborhood is an iconic American symbol. The architecture might be uniform and perfectly manicured lawns like something out of the movie Edward Scissorhands, but are Americans really looking for that any longer? That song "little houses on the hillside little houses made of Tiki tacky and they all look just the same" gets me to thinking that people don't want that anymore. That might be very "American" but more and more people are looking for individuality and while this is an admirable trait, when it comes to our homes, we really want something that stands out, speaks for our lifestyle, and is a practical place to live. We don't want to fit into the standard box that everyone else can fit into. There's nothing original or unique about our homes any longer.
In today's real estate world and even in our economy, housing the new middle class is taken a completely different turn. During the baby-boom and Eisenhower era, suburban tract housing developments exploded across the country as many materials can be ordered in bulk and components can be mass-produced on-site. In order to create a high-quality home, they had to have the same factory line production process.
Today, many of these ideas have been outdated and most residents that purchased homes back in the 50s or 60s have done it multiple upgrades are renovations. Kitchens were originally designed to cook rather than a place to gather so they were often separated from the rest of the house. Many people today love the open floor plan where a family room, dining room, kitchen and maybe even a breakfast area is all one space. But even then, the same open space concept can be duplicated over and over in a particular neighborhood. Many homebuilders are coming up with 10 to 15 different designs instead of the standard 2 that was popular 50 years ago. People want diversity, they want options, they want originality. We don't want to look like everyone else; we want something that works for our lifestyle and not to just stand out for the sake of being individual. We want something that works for our lifestyle, our budget, our family, and our day-to-day functions.
I think homebuilders have really listen to the American buyer and created a wide range of architectural designs and layouts. With the rise of multigenerational homes, these unique layouts and practical designs have become even more popular.
Because every year more and more homes come on the market, more homes are being built and more buyers looking for them, it will create even more diversity. We will have hundred-year-old homes that someone is lovingly restoring to the retro 1950s home with modern and sleek design and style, to the traditional home or multi-generational layout offering a large floorplan all on one story. It's about today's homebuyer. It's what were looking for that developers are interested in building.
Donald Payne is the managing broker of Vision Realty in Columbus Ohio. Columbus has a wide range of new home developments, traditional homes and historical, vintage homes throughout the Columbus area and surrounding urban towns and communities. Originally posted on Linkedin