Hidden pantries, pocket offices and clutter-collecting drop zones remain all the rage for new houses in the Omaha area.
Trending also, say local home builders, are energy-efficient elements, stone facades and outdoor kitchens and fire pits.
The World-Herald sought builders' takes on what's hot and not after the Census Bureau released a report on 2012 characteristics of newly constructed residential structures. The survey reflects changes on national and regional levels.
Those interviewed weren't surprised at the rise in ranch-style houses across the Midwest, but they scratched heads over a finding that fireplaces lost steam both in the Midwest and the nation.
“We put a fireplace in every home we've built, except one,” said Dave Vogtman of the Home Co., which is in its second year of business. “It adds value.”
Mike Shotkoski of Malibu Homes and Fireside Homes noted a marked increase in fire pits and other outdoor living features. “It becomes an extension of the inside for entertaining.”
Compared with 20 years ago, the report said, fewer decks nationally are built on new houses.
Joe Rongisch of Vantage Design and Construction is among builders who say decks still are quite fashionable locally, but that porches or patios reign on lots with flat terrain.
Here are some of the report highlights:
Among the findings from the U.S. Census Bureau report on 2012 characteristics of newly constructed single-family residential structures:
More porches, fewer decks
• U.S.: 65% had porches, 50% had patios and 23% had decks, compared with 42% porches, 37% patios and 37% decks 10 years earlier.
• Midwest: 63% had porches, 36% had patios and 32% had decks, compared with 41% porches, 42% decks and 26% patios 10 years earlier.
• U.S.: 2,306 median square feet vs. 1,755 25 years earlier.
• Midwest: 2,150 median square feet vs. 1,740 25 years earlier.
More single-stories in the Midwest
• U.S.: 44% had one story, 55% had two or more, 1% had split-level vs. 49% one story, 46% two or more, 5% split-level 25 years earlier.
• Midwest: 56% had one story, 40% had two or more, 4% had split-level vs. 46% one story, 42% two or more, 11% split-level 25 years ago.
More cash purchases
• U.S.: 66% conventional financing, 15% FHA-insured, 11% cash, 8% VA- guaranteed vs. 80% conventional; 9% FHA-insured; 8% cash and 3% VA- guaranteed 13 years earlier.
• Midwest: 75% conventional, 12% cash, 7% FHA-insured and 6% VA- guaranteed vs. 87% conventional, 7% cash, 4% FHA-insured and 1% VA- guaranteed 13 years earlier.
Of single-family houses completed in 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau reports:
• U.S.: 30% had three or more vs. 12% 25 years earlier; 32% had two, down from 45%.
• Midwest: 26% had three or more vs. 13% 25 years earlier; 34% had two, down from 35%.
• U.S.: 41% had four or more vs. 23% 25 years earlier; 46% had three, down from 58%.
• Midwest: 31% had four or more vs. 25% 25 years earlier; 46% had three, down from 57%.
A majority without fireplaces
• U.S.: 51% had none and 43% had one vs. 38% with none and 57% with one 25 years earlier.
• Midwest: 51% had none and 42% had one vs. 41% with none and 53% with one 25 years earlier.
New multifamily rental buildings completed in 2012 had:
• U.S.: 50% had one and 46% had two or more vs. 44% with one and 50% had two or more 13 years earlier.
• Midwest: 52% had one and 45% had two or more vs. 59% with one and 33% with two or more 13 years earlier.
Midwest has more senior apartments
• U.S.: 9% were age-restricted vs. 10% three years earlier.
• Midwest: 14% were age-restricted, the same as three years earlier.
More square feet
• U.S.: 1,081 median square feet vs. 1,012 three years earlier.
• Midwest: 1,207 median square feet vs. 995 square feet three years earlier.
No growth in 3-bedroom units
• U.S.: 37% have one bedroom, 42% have two and 16% have three vs. 33% with one, 46% with two and 18% with three 13 years ago.
• Midwest: 30% have one bedroom, 53% have two and 12% three vs. 31% with one, 49% with two and 12% with three.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau