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Home features most in demand
Architects' survey reports on the amenities most sought by homeowners.
September 9, 2005: 4:28 PM EDT
By Les Christie, CNN/Money staff writer
Favorite home features
According to a survey of architects, here's what Americans are most interested in adding to their houses.
FeaturePopularity
Home office47%
Game room30%
Mud room26%
Home theater24%
Guest wing23%
In-law suite22%
Laundry room18%
Fitness center13%
Source:American Institute of Architects

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The strength of the housing market has not just driven an increase in the number of homes being built and renovated, it is also influencing the design and appearance of those homes.

According to a new survey from the American Institute of Architects, the second quarter of this year remained a strong one for most of its members. More than 39 percent reported improved billings compared with the first quarter, with only 9 percent reporting lower billings.

And the future looks as bright: 42 percent of the respondents have experienced a rise in inquiries for new work during the corner and only 10 percent said they had seen fewer potential new customers.

The average architectural firm had a work backlog of 5.4 months during the first quarter, up from 5.2 months the quarter earlier.

Regionally, architects in the South report the strongest business conditions with 52 percent of architects there having more work in quarter two. Weakest was the Northeast where only 27 percent reported increased billings.

Popularity contest

According to the report, remodeling was the biggest source of business for architects during the second quarter, with additions and alterations and kitchen/bath projects leading the way.

The tastes of Americans continued to evolve, changing the popularity of specific home features. Residences are getting less formal and the Institute reported a marked decline in the kind of upscale entryways and foyers that had been much in demand in years past.

Less popular too, despite growing auto ownership nationwide are giant garages with bays for three or more cars.

Home offices led the list of amenities that have grown in popularity. The difference between the percentage of architects reporting increased demand for this kind of room minus those reporting decreased demand came to 47 percentage points.

Hobby/game rooms (30 percent difference); mud rooms (26 percent); and media rooms (24 percent) also showed increased popularity.

Another major home feature more Americans want is living space dedicated to other household members; 38 percent of architects cited increased demand for this feature with about 15 percent cited lower demand.

More and more, entire wings or suites, including separate kitchens and baths, are being incorporated in home design or added to existing houses. These may be used by aging parents or live-in child-care workers.

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The AIA survey revealed that condo markets remain strong. For a story about the frenzied condo-investing market, click here.

Many new homes are growing to montrous proportions. For more on that, click here.  Top of page

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