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Photo Credit: Kolbe Windows & Doors

In a recent WDMA webinar, John Burns and Mikaela Sharp from John Burns Real Estate Consulting shared some very bullish data and information from their home builder survey as well as consumer research from the New Home Trends Institute consumer research.

While 2020 was a year of  tremendous social and economic upheaval due to a global pandemic, Burns says for the window and door markets, there is great reason to be optimistic and highly confident about the growth potential in 2021. One of the keys to this is the actions taken by the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates below 3%, which has kept housing going, remodeling going and the economy going.

New home sales are up year-over-year and the largest home builder in the nation reported sales are up an incredible 81%. New home starts have also surged, but currently stand at only half as much as sales, which represents huge demand for windows and doors throughout 2021 and 2022.

Hottest Trends

There are three massive trends in the residential markets, according to Mikaela Sharp, who heads up the firm’s New Homes Trends Institute Some aspects are an outgrowth of the pandemic, while others are indicative of evolutions in homeowner demands. They are “Work from Home,” “Healthy Homes” and “Privacy.”

pella kitchen
pella windows art room

Photo Credit: Pella Corporation

Trend 1: Work from Home

The pandemic served to almost double the number of owned households who will continue to work from home regularly. Pre-COVID-19, there were 5 million. During the pandemic, the number jumped to 22 million. The data shows that post-covid, there will still be 9 million owned households earning $50+ who plan to work more than 10 hours per week from home.

Work from home opportunity includes appropriate lighting for conference calls and such. This equates to bigger windows that can deliver more natural light within a workspace. Privacy and noise solutions are needed in interior doors to make workspace less accessible to kids when quiet is needed. The survey results point to trends for more flexible spaces the deliver open and adaptable applications such as pocket offices with big glass sliding doors.

Recommendations for window and door manufacturers:

  • Keep: Creating soundproofing solutions that allow homeowners to work in a quiet home office.
  • Start: Considering sound proofing solutions that allow homeowners to work quietly anywhere in the home
  • Stop: assuming that any natural light is “good natural light”. Window placement should be optimized.
marvin sunroom

Photo Credit: Marvin

Trend 2: Healthy Homes

The focus on health has surged, with 76% of people taking more steps to promote physical health and 69% say they are doing more to promote mental health than they were a year ago.

The top consumer “healthy home” key trends and demands include better air filtration, easy-to-clean surfaces, mold protection and better sleep. Air filtration and better sleep translates to total darkness solutions which can be addressed with windows and doors designed to provide. Other trends include touchless features such as remote front door locks and interior doors and smart maintenance technology can help homeowners know when something needs to be fixed or replaced.

Recommendations for window and door manufacturers:

  • Keep: Focusing on products that improve air quality, especially for young families.
  • Start: Including technology in products that spots maintenance needs.
  • Stop: skipping the basics of a healthy home: good sleep and a clean house.

Trend 3: Privacy

The need for privacy solutions transcends geographic type and home size. The majority of survey respondents are concerned with privacy. Homeowners are current feeling forced to balance between privacy and natural light. Blinds and curtains block light and views and stained glass and frosted windows obscure views in, but also out. Window films function well, but are difficult to work with. Homeowners want new innovations.

Owners of large homes (4000+ sf) are comfortable with large and unobscured windows. Others surveyed said they would prefer smaller windows placed above sight lines. When asked whether privacy or natural light is more important, they said privacy. This equates to long, landscape windows and bullet windows that are placed above sight lines that let in light and are above the sightlines. The challenge is they don’t have the view. The opportunity is to deliver smart glass windows to enable homeowners to control what they want. Privacy within the home is most needed by young families. Home size has no bearing on this trend.

The opportunity is to transition from completely “wide open” open-concept layouts to “strategically open” spaces. The design workaround is spaces that can include flexible walls via sliding doors on tracks. When it comes bathrooms, better sound and visual privacy is in demand.

Recommendations for window and door manufacturers:

  • Keep: Creating bullet or long landscape windows above eye level provide light while maximizing privacy.
  • Stop: using barn doors to separate any area sensitive to odor or sound. Barn doors may help with visual separation, but privacy includes more than just sight.
  • Start:
    • Developing more products with Smart Glass (or similar) in strategic locations to balance light and privacy.
    • Developing noise-reducing products for power rooms.

Conclusion

Sharp says that even though these trends were highlighted by the pandemic, they have been brewing for some time—COVID just sped it up dramatically. Now is the time for manufacturers to quickly innovate and provide new solutions to meet the evolving demands of homeowners.

kolbe

Photo Credit: Kolbe Windows & Doors

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