5 Housing Trends to Watch

One of the easiest ways to understand your customers is to pay attention to trends that identify their collective behaviors, thoughts, and actions. Resourceful information can help you identify products that are in big demand, or innovations impacting the marketplace. It’s notable that a quarter of the U.S. population made home improvements last year, and 93 percent of these upgrades were DIY projects. That’s good news for retailers in this industry.


Millennials Become Homeowners. 
The DIY trend is being led by Millennials who are tapping into advice from YouTube tutorials, DIY articles, and television personalities. According to the National Association of Realtors, Millennials were the largest percentage of homebuyers in 2017 (34 percent). Another study conducted by the Urban Land Institute indicates that 70% of millennials plan to purchase a home by 2020.

Rental Housing Market Rises
Thegrowing demand for rental housing has created a market for “portable” home improvement products that the tenant can quickly move to the next location. This can include appliances, furniture, or kitchen islands. Retailers who operate a business in urban areas where high-end rentals are becoming increasingly popular may want to stock small patio sets, portable grills, specialized lighting, or herb and flower gardening kits and planters.

Americans Own Their Homes Longer
In the 1980s Americans owned their homes around 5.6 years.  Today, the average length of time is 9.1 years. People are moving less and staying in their homes longer. “Mobility is a bit of a puzzle,” says Kermit Baker, who founded and manages Harvard’s Remodeling Futures Program. “It’s a more fundamental question: Why are we moving less? Historically, about 80 percent of moves have been for basically any housing locational issues, and 20 percent are for long-term family or job issues.”

Remodels to Decline through 3rd Quarter
The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University estimates remodels will trend downward until the third quarter of the year. After reaching a decade high of 7.7 percent in 2018, remodeling spending will fall to 6.6 percent. “Rising mortgage interest rates and flat home sales around much of the country are expected to pinch otherwise strong growth in homeowner remodeling spending moving forward,” says Chris Herbert, managing director of the JCHS.

Innovative Lighting Reduces Consumption
New technology has led to the development of energy-efficient lamps and light bulbs and will significantly reduce the global demand for electricity in the future.

  • General lighting usage will be  2.75 trillion kilowatt-hours in 2020
    (a 24 percent reduction over the 3.61 kWh used in 2018

 “The drop in electricity consumption in lighting is being driven by the systematic banning of inefficient light bulbs and lamps—mainly incandescent—in countries around the world.” Says William Rhodes, director of lighting research for HIS Technology. “As these bans begin to take effect, consumers and business owners will replace their lamps with more energy-efficient technologies, such as LED technology.”

These trends have a direct bearing on how customers respond to the products and services offered by your business. Millennials and boomers may be at different stages of home ownership. Empty-nesters are downsizing, whereas Millennials are in a building phase. The more you know about what motivates them, the better.

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