Real Estate Desires Changing Fast
This year’s hottest trends in new and renovated commercial and residential properties
There was a time when trends in real estate—be they residential or commercial—would occur in 15-year cycles, with designs and desires for popular amenities changing slowly over that time period.
But in 2020, when new designs constantly appear on Pinterest and HGTV’s popular building shows, trends are cycling in and out much more quickly.
Driven to Downsize
One of the big commercial trends is a move toward smaller spaces.
“The analytics capabilities due to technology and the smart phone have made change happen much faster,” said Snappy Jacobs, founder of commercial real estate firm Real Estate Management, LLC. “Rising construction costs and retail business analytics — through use of technology — have resulted in retail spaces that are fewer, smaller, smarter and more efficient in terms of size and access.”
Jacobs said many office renovations are now dominated by downsizing and pursuing smaller footprints on a per employee basis.
“Remote working via technology, outsourcing and digital file storage have transformed what used to be file and administrative space to flexible, open and collaborative workspace,” he said. “Companies want flexibility in their spaces and leases in order to be adaptable to changes in their respective industries.” Snappy Jacobs, founder of commercial real estate firm Real Estate Management, LLC
Bringing Home to Work
Caroline Hayes, vice president of marketing for AOS Interior Environments, an interior design firm that works on commercial properties, says a big trend is designing offices for efficiency and collaboration.
“There’s a term—‘resimercial’—that is describing a shift in types of materials and the way that spaces are being designed now,” she says. “Design is bringing in more of that residential or hospitality home-like feel, with softer seating and living room setups. A lot of offices are no longer hiding breakrooms in the corner, they’re bringing them into the middle of the office space.”
Small is Big in Residential Too
Charles Silbernagel, founder and principal of ClS Architects, said time is of the essence in the residential world.
“If someone is on social media and sees a new bathroom design or plumbing fixture, it’s almost like they want it now,” he said.
When it comes to home renovations, Silbernagel said many homeowners look specifically to redo their smallest spaces — half-baths and powder rooms — with luxury in mind.
“There are new types of painting, lacquer and faux-finish painting we can use,” he said. “And some of these half baths are getting complete mural walls. A lot of the vanities are being custom made. These rooms are becoming little jewels within the house.”
When it comes to master baths and kitchens, considered the “big ticket” rooms in real estate, Silbernagel noted a trend of free-standing tubs and walk-in showers, along with a desire to replace kitchen sink fixtures.
Lighting fixture replacements throughout a home are now common, which, Silbernagel said, was not commonly seen only five years ago.
Not only are homeowners looking to deck out their smallest spaces, they’re looking for smaller homes in general.
“On new construction, we are seeing smaller designs,” Silbernagel said. “Instead of clients wanting 3,500-square-foot homes, they now want 2,500-square-foot homes.”
The effort required to fit everything a homeowner wants into a smaller plan has led to open floorplans. “That’s a popular trend because it provides clean lines and a larger feel.”
Debbie Lewis, broker associate with Burk Brokerage, says a big residential trend is focal points created with architectural elements.
“It could be a beam on the ceiling or some wood on the wall,” she said. “It could also be an interesting tile backsplash or a tile floor in a laundry room.”
Gigi Burk, broker-owner of Burk Brokerage, noted wallpaper is also coming back into fashion, used as an accent wall or in a powder room.
“We’re also seeing brash finishes on hardware or fixtures — a lot of gold color being used,” Burk said. “Black or navy cabinets with white countertops and gold hardware are also big, as are open shelving in kitchens.”
Lewis said today’s buyers expect the absolute latest when it comes to trends.
“We have had people turn down houses for having finishes that are only five years old,” she said. “Something like tinted glass in showers has already come and gone. It was very popular after Katrina, but we don’t see it at all anymore.”
Two features you won’t coming back anytime soon are carpeted floors and formal spaces, according to Shaun McCarthy, associate broker for Metairie-based Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.
“How people are living now is changing,” he said. “People building new houses or renovating no longer feel like they need a formal living room,” he says. “In some cases, people feel like they don’t need a formal dining room if they’re only going to use it a few times a year.”
Overall, Delisha Boyd, a real estate broker with Delisha Boyd LLC, said she’s seeing a huge demand for doubles, either to be used as owner occupancies with a rental income or transformed into a single-family home.
“If you are approved to purchase a home and are buying a double, the lender is able to count up to 75% of the projected rental income to your total income for the year, which gives you some more buying power,” she said