What are buyers looking for in their new homes in California? What are they filling their homes with, post-purchase?
At Nexus eWater, we talk to A LOT of builders and new homeowners. Here are the top 5 trends among new homes and their owners, as we see them:
1) Connected Home
While home connectivity has been touted as “the next big thing” for 5-10 years, voice recognition and AI search technologies from Amazon Alexa, Google Home and, soon, Apple HomePod have brought about a quantum leap in user experience. This means that even DIY technology enthusiasts can outfit their homes with voice control – and they want these features standard in new construction. Lights and outlets controllable; appliances able to communicate with the owner, the manufacturer, or each other; automatic ordering of replacement parts and consumables; and more. These "Smart Homes" are very clearly the way of the future, particularly in the high-end construction space.
Tract home builders are seeing the “California Room”, a covered outdoor space integrally linked with indoor family space as their most popular (and profitable) upgrade option. Now that homes are more connected to their landscape they need it to be greener, more lush and more inviting. This year, after 6 yeas of drought, buyers also see landscape as a “reward” in exchange for austerity during the dry years. The lawn and garden have become integral parts of the home and warrant the same attention for investment and upgrades as any other room.
3) Green Credibility
Regardless of the economic incentives, for the vast majority of Californians, there is a social imperative to be green – and gaining social credibility is a benefit itself, without the need for a traditional “payback” period for doing so. Green appliances with connected user apps, such as solar panels and storage batteries allow buyers of new homes and technologies to share their environmental efficiency success with friends and family.
4) Low Maintenance
Robotic vacuum cleaners are nearly ubiquitous in suburban homes, and automatic, smart systems are now able to monitor and take care of many mundane aspects of home ownership. Leak monitoring and connected alarm systems let owners know their largest investment is secure, automatic toilet cleaning provides obvious benefits, even automatic ordering of spare parts or consumables can be managed without troubling the homeowner. Buyers of new homes value integration, and preparation for (or even inclusion of) these time-saving smart devices is a checklist item for many buyers.
5) Cottage Industries and DIY
Particularly in urban areas, there is a growing trend toward rediscovery of traditional skills and crafts, with the “making” of goods at home in general are undergoing a renaissance. A plethora of startup companies, and even large established appliance makers, are seeing traction in areas like beer brewing, fermenting, composting, and advanced home manufacturing systems including vacuum forming , 3D printing, and bench top CNC machines. With the rise of these new industries, will we begin to see more workspace areas incorporated into new home building in the future? It wouldn't surprise me!
Tom Wood, CEO & Co-Founder
Tom is Co-Founder and CEO of Nexus eWater. Prior to founding the company, Tom worked with two other water startups and has accumulated more than 10 years of experience in water treatment product development. Tom holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering Physics from Queens University, Canada, and a Masters in Systems Engineering from the Australian National University.