Community design trends that integrate more mixed-use type of development are increasing, as well as home technology such as wireless telecommunication, according to a survey from the American Institute of Architects.

“To combat the isolation caused by distant residential construction and to increase accessibility for households, we are seeing a strong increase in community design trends that are integrating more activities into housing development,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Ph.D., Hon. AIA.

In addition to mixed-use development strategies, Banker said, 63 percent of surveyed residential architecture firms reported that infill development – where smaller land parcels closer to urban centers are targeted for development – is also increasing.

The third-quarter Home Design Trends Survey examined neighborhood and community design strategies, as well as technology options for homeowners.

Highlights of the survey include:

Under neighborhood planning strategies, more than half of surveyed firms reported increases in infill development popularity and mixed-use development. More than 40 percent of firms reported an increase in popularity for recreational options, access to public/alternative transportation, and higher-density development.

Under technology options for the home, 70 percent of firms reported an increase in wireless telecommunications and data systems, and 66 percent reported an increase in the use of energy-efficient products. Meanwhile, 48 percent reported an increase in central audio systems, and 31 percent reported and increase automated lighting systems.

The survey also looked at housing market business conditions, finding that residential architects are reporting signs of a market slowdown despite strong numbers for billings and inquiries for new projects.

The only segment that residential architects rate as declining is homes targeted for first-time buyers.

Also, they said conditions remain stable on a regional basis, with firms in the South and West reporting improved billings over last quarter.

Baker also stated, “While the overall billings at residential architecture firms remain solid, there are signs that the housing market could be reaching its peak in many areas. New and existing home inventories are beginning to grow, higher home prices are limiting the number of potential buyers who can afford to purchase a house, and decreases in mortgage applications to buy a home are all indicative of a market that is ripe for a decline.”

The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of 600 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector.

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