Last month we talked about some of the color and décor trends projected for 2015. This month, let’s take a look at the market, design, and technology direction for homes in this new year.
The Washington DC Metro housing market is off and running in 2015 with increases in all areas (closed sales, median sales price, pending sales, active listings, new listings, days on market) in comparison to January 2014. Prices, so far this year, have generally remained even for single family homes, while townhouses and condos have increased. New contracts, inventories, and pending sales are all up…and it’s only February. The January statistics are a good indicator of a strong spring buying season. January sale prices are at the highest since 2007, with condo prices rising the fastest. The DC Metro Area consists of Falls Church City, Arlington County, Washington, DC, Alexandria City, Fairfax Country, Fairfax City, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County. Adjacent counties, Loudoun, Howard, Prince William, Anne Arundel and Frederick are not included in the DC Metro statistics. New and active listings have also increased over 2014 totals. They were close to 8,000 more active listings at the end of January, an 18% increase from January 2014. So, if you’re interested in buying or selling, now is the time to make your move…or at least get ready! Competition will be greater as springtime gets closer and interest rates are projected to be slowly on the rise.
On trend homes this year will feature some pretty neat design features. One of my personal favorites is creating more space through a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. Exterior walls featuring huge windows or even made almost entirely of glass make rooms look and feel so much larger in addition to providing tons of natural light. Another desirable feature in new homes is the option of an outdoor living space, such as a garden, terrace, or large balcony equipped with dining or lounge furniture. Overall, the whole focus in the housing industry has moved from one of quick buying while prices were low to a focus on luxury, comfort, and quality materials.
Another trend for homes is tech compatibility. It’s no secret that as a society, we use our smartphones and tablets for everything – from managing our finances to ordering dinner. Now, many people want the convenience of managing their homes from wherever they may be. Thankfully, most of the systems available now do not require closed circuit wiring. Many can even be installed and managed without the help of an electrician. Here are some of the most popular systems and devices to keep your home current in 2015.
Nest Learning Thermostat – This handy little device takes about a week to learn your schedule before it begins programming your heating and air so that wasting money on heating or cooling your empty home during the day is a thing of the past. Or if you prefer, you can manually adjust your thermostat using your smartphone. Nest claims that not only will the device save you about 20% on your energy bill, but that 4 out of 5 people can set up the device in less than 30 minutes without professional help. Sounds pretty simple to me!
Chamberlain MyQ Garage – Chamberlain’s garage door opener lets you tap your device’s screen to open or close your garage from anywhere. Soon, the company also plans to add geofencing capabilities so it can sense when you’re near your driveway to automatically open, and when your car is safely inside, close your garage door. Part of the Home Depot/Wink ecosystem and Apple’s soon-to-be HomeKit initiative, MyQ can control nearly every garage door opener from all the major brands manufactured after 1993, so chances are it will work with the garage door system you already have.
Kwikset Kevo Powered by UniKey – A mere touch of your finger unlocks or locks this otherwise normal-looking front door bolt lock. You can assign virtual keys permanently or temporarily, monitor ins and outs remotely, and receive activity alerts via the Kevo app. Kevo’s low-tech appearance is actually part of its security function – unlike other locks, nefarious folks will have no clue to Kevo’s intelligence. And in case of a technical snafu, Kevo can be opened with a reliable regular key. Kevo also is due to be incorporated into both the Home Depot/Wink and Staples Connect ecosystems.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this look at the very positive direction of the real estate market in the DC Metro area and some of the housing features, décor, and tech trends for 2015. If you have any thoughts, questions or comments about these trends, please comment below. I’d love to hear from you!