Last updated on January 27th, 2022 at 04:21 am
In the construction industry, staying up to date with current trends and thinking about how they will evolve is crucial. You want to create homes that not only fulfil the needs of their owners, but also have long-term appeal for future buyers.
I’ve seen all kinds of change in my career, but the events of 2020 and 2021 accelerated things. Some of the ways we adapted to the world will fade away quickly, while others are set to stay.
I’ve identified the top five construction trends which will continue to evolve in 2022. I’ve also picked a few suburbs throughout Melbourne and the ACT where you can see transformations underway.
Australians have seen their houses double in size over the past few decades. It wasn’t so long ago that a new house accommodating a family of four would be configured across 120 to 150 square metres of living space. Then things started changing – the birth of the McMansion and growth of eave-less structures on small allotments resulted in bigger dwellings occupying far too much of their block.
But the size factor is even more important as we head into 2022 – and it’s not just the house area that’s increasing.
Owners are purposefully seeking space outside as well. This has fuelled demand in the outer suburbs where you can get more bang for your buck in terms of land size. Think Melbourne areas such as Wollert, Wallan, Doreen, Kilmore and Sunbury where people are happy to live further out and commute if needs be. In and around the ACT we’re talking Googong, Jerrabomberra, Bungendore and Yass.
This craving for space has even seen more second and third homebuyers heading for new estates – a domain traditionally dominated by first time buyers – because everyone is looking to build bigger within their budget.
The idea that you must accept cookie-cutter house designs, particularly in new estates, went out the window during COVID.
Long days and weeks spent within the home have taught us plenty about what we need in our living spaces.
Our dwelling needs to be both practical and customisable, and I’m seeing more and more owners paying attention to the value of layout.
In appealing modern homes there are plenty of breakout areas so every occupant can either come together for family time or find a space for a few moments to themselves.
This includes elements such as bigger alfresco areas, larger back yards, multiple living rooms and dedicated home offices – not just study nooks.
This call may surprise some people. Not so long ago most clients were keen to have a single level home, reasoning they could continue to live there as they aged.
But COVID has us seeking additional spread-out space so we can have our own privacy while living in a house teeming with people.
One way this is being affectively achieved is by going up a level.
With two levels you can have another upstairs rumpus/breakout area… and there’s still space for multiple separate living rooms downstairs, as well as facilities like a theatre room.
We’re also seeing more downstairs ensuited guest’s rooms, which are particularly appealing when elderly relatives come to stay. All the better when a well-placed door can increase privacy by creating a ‘guest’s wing’.
Two stories also allow for a bigger back yard by reducing the building footprint. Another win in the race for space.
Butler’s pantries and walk-in storage are not necessarily new, but the ways they’re being utilised are changing.
Owners want their kitchen to be front facing to guests. It allows them to prepare food and beverages while being part of the social gathering.
But what they don’t want is for those guests to see the real-life mess that’s part of food preparation.
We are seeing more and more walk-in pantry spaces being designed to contain this untidiness. From the second oven (where oil-spitting roasts are prepared) to the additional sink and dishwasher for cleaning up. We’re even seeing cooktops in butler’s pantries, despite the fact there’ll be a cooktop in the main kitchen too.
Butler’s pantries are hiding away unsightly disorder from your visitors’ eyes, keeping the main kitchen free for less messy activities.
As property prices have risen across Melbourne and Canberra, we’ve seen owners maintain that old adage of, ‘Location! Location! Location!’ while also wanting a bespoke home which caters to their needs.
As a result, there’s been a rise in buyers acquiring property with an existing home that can be demolished. The strategy lets them have the home they desire in the location they want.
People will even pay premiums for properties with demolishable houses – something which would have been illogical just two years ago.
I’ve observed plenty of these projects in Melbourne’s inner-eastern suburbs. Interestingly while many of these clients are downsizers, they’re still building bigger homes to shore up future resale value.
In Canberra, there are also owners rejuvenating inner city suburbs through knockdown rebuilds.
In fact, I’ve been involved with more knockdown rebuilds in the past year than at any time during my construction career.
Once upon a time (i.e., a year and half ago) there was a tendency for owners to spend more on the construction of their home than the purchase price of their land.
COVID seems to have turned this equation on its head. Clients no longer fear paying more to find the ideal block in their desired location, and then spending a little less on building their house. Rising land values prompted land developers to increase their asking prices, so the budgetary trade-off is to be more economical with the build.
It’s the start of 2022 and we have an opportunity to prepare for what lays ahead. By observing the trends and adapting them into your own project, you’ll not only create a home that caters to your needs, but also an investment that will appeal to a broad range of buyers for years to come.
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