1. Safety first. Already a top priority for single-women buyers in today's fear-fraught climate of terrorists, security is now top-of-mind for everyone. Whether it's a high-tech alarm system or a neighbor-friendly site plan, buyers want a secure environment.
2. World community. Immigration has already had an impact on the industry. Throughout the next few decades, builders and architects will have to reconsider conventional notions of family configurations and lifestyles thus impacting floor plans, elevations, merchandising, and marketing.
3. Y not. As Generation Y enters the housing market they'll be expecting more open, updated, and contemporary home design, as well as unique product options and material choices.
4. On the move. Empty-nesters will continue to migrate from the Midwest to the Sunbelt, and yuppies will keep urban markets strong.
5. Green team. Kids today are raised on recycling and taught to lead environmentally conscious lifestyles. As adults, they will expect green products and energy-efficient technologies as standard parts of their new homes.
6. Home base. Gridlock and liberal telecommuting policies have changed work habits considerably, with more Americans working at home each year. High technology and well-equipped home offices will always be a priority.
Photo: Glenn Hilario
7. Affordability crisis. Many jurisdictions already require a percentage of affordable housing in new communities, and it's catching on. Builders need to start thinking of ways to integrate affordable, attractive units into every neighborhood. 8. Home shopping network. A big part of the continuing cocooning trend is Internet shopping. Soon, consumers will routinely shop for new homes on builder Web sites the same way they browse for books on Amazon.
9. Boomtown. The baby boom generation will continue to spur a plethora of choices for that market. They are not a homogeneous group and will demand all types of products in diverse markets and price points.
10. Blast from the past. Consumers nostalgic for childhood memories will continue to influence architects to create housing that resembles the great architectural styles of the '20s and '30s.