New data from the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey shows that, for the first time in five years, homeowner interest in larger homes increased over the last 12 months.

The Home Design Trends Survey for the second quarter of 2021—focusing on home and property design—also found that demand for accessory dwelling and rental units increased sharply, and there was a robust uptick in demand for finishing spaces such as basements, attics, and garages.

While outdoor living space has been popular recently, demand for it, too, dramatically increased since last year. The popularity of outbuildings, like sheds, barns, and pool houses also expanded precipitously.

“Since households are doing more at home, they have been looking for more space during the pandemic. This has included focusing more activities outdoors, and adding other buildings to their property,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Ph.D. “The overall strength of the residential market has driven project backlogs at residential architecture firms to pre-pandemic levels.”

Findings of the report also revealed business conditions for residential architecture firms in the second quarter of 2021. All custom residential sectors reported unprecedented growth, with home improvement reporting the strongest gains. Project billings came in at 68.4 (any score above 50 indicates growth in firm billings.)

The AIA Home Design Trends Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of more than 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector. More information on the latest survey results can be reviewed on AIA’s website.

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