flexiblefullpage - default
Currently Reading

Big Opportunities for Builders

billboard - default

Big Opportunities for Builders

Three unmet needs and the market shifts they signal are a call to innovation; a chance for differentiation

February 28, 2017
This article first appeared in the March 2017 issue of Pro Builder.

This month’s issue includes stories about three unfilled market niches that are significant opportunities for builders: culturally aware housing, live-work housing, and Missing Middle Housing. They're an example of old ideas, made new. 

Senior editor Susan Bady examines homebuyer trends informed by a nation that’s becoming more culturally and ethnically diverse every day. Data from the Pew Research Center show that, within the next half century, more than three-quarters of the population will be immigrants or born to immigrant parents. As you’ll see, designing with cultural awareness hews to many of the guidelines that drive any good design. Some considerations involve ancient Chinese and South Asian design principles for kitchen layout, placement of drains, and entryways. Other considerations have to do with trends that builders are already accommodating with their product designs: making room for aging relatives, extended family, and grandchildren (Image: Maark via Pixabay). 

Long before artists’ lofts became a thing in New York and other major cities in the early 1970s, the seamstress’ shop provided a place to live above it, the blacksmith’s shop had adjacent rooms, and the farmhouse got built near the sheep barn. Our House Review design team offers floor plans for modern-day live/work spaces. Though regulations to keep factories from impinging on homes became essential in the last century, the zoning that ensued included a knee-jerk reaction to all things commercial, senior contributing editor Larry Garnett observes. 

Live/work is an old idea that’s coming back, and it holds promise as a response to the increased demand for walkability, Garnett says. “If you’re trying to renew a town square or are building a new walkable environment, live/work creates vibrancy and a sense of place because you have people there 24-7, which means increased safety because people aren’t disappearing from town when the work day is done.” Garnett adds that when we think of live/work, we think of density. “It doesn’t have to be that way,” he insists. “If all the parts fit together, it can work in suburbia.” 

Finally, senior editor Mike Beirne talks to architect Daniel Parolek about another innovative response to market shifts. Missing Middle housing is built on the scale of single-family homes but contains multiple units—such as traditional duplexes. It’s a potential answer for Millennial buyers who want a home within financial reach offering walkability and a sense of place. Missing Middle is an appealing option, too, for aging Boomers who don’t want to live in isolation and are pondering a way of life that’s just a bit less dependent on the car.

leaderboard2 - default
Written By

Amy Albert is editor-in-chief of Professional Builder magazine. Previously, she worked as chief editor of Custom Home and design editor at Builder. Amy came to writing about building by way of food journalism, as kitchen design editor at Bon Appetit and before that, at Fine Cooking, where she shot, edited, and wrote stories on kitchen design. She studied art history with an emphasis on architecture and urban design at the University of Pennsylvania, has served on several design juries, and is a recipient of the 2017 Jesse H. Neal Award for excellence in journalism. 

boombox1 -
native1 - default
halfpage2 -

More in Category

Delaware-based Schell Brothers, our 2023 Builder of the Year, brings a refreshing approach to delivering homes and measuring success with an overriding mission of happiness

NAHB Chairman's Message: In a challenging business environment for home builders, and with higher housing costs for families, the National Association of Home Builders is working to help home builders better meet the nation's housing needs

Sure there are challenges, but overall, Pro Builder's annual Housing Forecast Survey finds home builders are optimistic about the coming year

native2 - default
halfpage1 -

Create an account

By creating an account, you agree to Pro Builder's terms of service and privacy policy.

Daily Feed Newsletter

Get Pro Builder in your inbox

Each day, Pro Builder's editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Save the stories you care about

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

The bookmark icon allows you to save any story to your account to read it later
Tap it once to save, and tap it again to unsave

It looks like you’re using an ad-blocker!

Pro Builder is an advertisting supported site and we noticed you have ad-blocking enabled in your browser. There are two ways you can keep reading:

Disable your ad-blocker
Disable now
Subscribe to Pro Builder
Already a member? Sign in
Become a Member

Subscribe to Pro Builder for unlimited access

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.