Home additions gaining popularity with property owners

First quarter numbers show increase in interest in rental units, finished basements.

Washington – July 17, 2018 Results from an American Institute of Architects (AIA) survey is revealing a new trend taking shape among homeowners who are seeking to add rental units and finished basements to their properties.

“Data from the first quarter shows that homeowners are increasingly looking to architects to design additional living quarters for their homes,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD. Hon. AIA. “It could be due to kids returning home to live with their parents to save money or homeowners taking advantage of a growing rental market due to the lack of affordable housing in major markets throughout the country.”

The latest AIA Home Design Trends survey results—which details trends on a quarterly basis—shows major interest among architecture firm clients in home additions that can function as separate living quarters, ostensibly as a source of rental income. Among the survey’s findings:

  • Sixty-three percent of firms reported clients interested in adding rental units and accessory dwellings, which is up from 51 percent reporting such an interest in 2017’s first quarter;
  • Almost 40 percent of firms reported a jump in interest in finished basements or attics, which is up from 32 percent during the same time last year;
  • Thirty-four percent of firms indicated an interest by clients in building micro-housing units on their properties, compared with 31 percent in the first quarter of 2017.

Meanwhile, housing affordability continues to be a focus of client inquiries to architecture firms. According to the survey, 13.5 percent of firms reported inquiries from clients for this type of housing. This represents a jump of 36 percent from the number of firms reporting such inquiries last year. The number of firms reporting interest by clients in town home and condominium design was almost 19 percent in the first quarter, up more than 25 percent from the interest expressed in the first quarter of 2017.

Complete details of the AIA Home Design Trends Survey can be reviewed online.

About the AIA Home Design Trends Survey

The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of more than 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector. Residential architects are design leaders in shaping how homes function, look, and integrate into communities and this survey helps to identify emerging trends in the housing marketplace. Business conditions are also monitored on a quarterly basis. Future surveys will focus on specialty rooms and systems (September 2018) and community design trends (December 2018).  

About AIA

Founded in 1857, AIA consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through more than 200 international, state and local chapters, AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing.

AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation, and world. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards.


John Schneidawind
Back to media center list