What’s Hot in Homebuying

What’s Hot in Homebuying

By Rick Koze

Everyone is thinking more economically these days. When it comes to purchasing a home, buyers are increasingly looking to use every part of the home compared to the past when wasted space was often overlooked. That is not to say that that the trend is toward boring or less attractive. On the contrary, the new home buyer is demanding more aesthetic appeal than ever in addition to tight design.

One of the advantages of purchasing a new home is that one is able to have all of the latest design and architectural trends at an attractive price. Kay Builders, who has led the Lehigh Valley in new homes sold over the past several years, notes the following important top trends in homebuilding.  The company is known to be on the leading edge of new home design and has introduced many new design trends to the area:

Smaller foyers and hallways

Although some customers still desire the grand entry with a prominent staircase, the trend is clearly toward smaller foyers. The square footage typically allocated to the large foyer is now reallocated as usable space in other areas of the home. And turned staircases tucked into the center of the home are more popular because they result in shorter hallways. The most efficiently planned homes have less space wasted on hallways. Kay Builders is able to redesign or introduce new plans in a matter of days to meet new demands in design.

Dining Areas

You have no doubt seen many articles stating that the dining room is on its way out. At least locally we have found that this is not quite true. Many still want the option of a formal dining room and others want a less formal dining area that is more integrated into the home, but all of Kay Builder’s plans have some dining area.

Living triangle/Open floor plans

In conjunction with the evolution of the dining room is the open floor plan. This is defined as the kitchen, dining area and living areas being integrated into one larger space so that people can congregate while cooking, dining or watching television. This has been one of the most significant changes in home design over the past 10 years and the trend is expected to continue.


The kitchen has become control central of the home for any demographic and it is no coincidence that the typical buyer spends most of their upgrade dollars here. The most significant trend, in addition to upgraded counter tops, cabinets and appliances, is the floating island.

A large island in the center of the kitchen with overhangs for stool seating has become quite popular. The large island provides an area for the host to socialize while cooking or a place for children to do homework while others do chores around the home. Additionally the modern island is often loaded with storage space, or contains a cooking range or other appliances.

Flex areas/Lofts

In line with efficient use of space, customers want functionality and rooms that can wear more than one hat. Flex areas have taken the place of the large living room that has existed in homes for years. The areas typically come in the form of a smaller room with more privacy on the first floor, or a loft on the second floor. They can be used as a pocket office, a getaway space such as a game room or library, a home theater, a craft area, a teen study, or a lounge or bar area.

Master on the Main

With the aging population, one of the more significant trends has been the re-emergence of first floor living. Many builders do not offer ranch homes or master bedroom on the main floor plans, because these homes cost more per square foot to build, but Kay Builders has been catering to this market for some time now. Interestingly, many younger people are now trending toward first floor living due to the many conveniences it provides.

Storage areas

Inefficient areas of the home that had little functionality are now being made into storage areas. This can come in the form of an extra large laundry area, mud room or additional garage space, but can be as simple as adding additional closets or drop areas. Either way, the trend is to reduce visible clutter in the home, which has resulted from our increasingly complicated lives.

It is an exciting time in new home design because customers are demanding more efficiency, functionality and innovation than ever at better prices, but they also want style. This has created a challenging environment for architects and builders and a few will rise to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack.

Rick Koze is the president and owner of Kay Builders, Inc (kaybuilders.com), a leading innovative homebuilder and developer operating exclusively in the Lehigh Valley.  The company has four active communities locally. A graduate of Emmaus High School, Koze holds a B.A. in Economics from Yale University. He has more than 15 years experience working with Fortune 500 companies in addition to his many years of construction business expertise.

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