As the Arizona home-building environment heats up with promise, interest rates are inching upward and 100,000 new people are expected to move here next year, new trends are emerging.

When you want to know what the hot options are in new homes, there is only one man at one company that can answer that- Pat Crowley at Interior Specialists, Inc. ISI is a management company for home builder design centers across the country. They currently have ninety locations with 60 design centers in 18 states. They have more data compiled on home buying trends and options new buyers are choosing than anyone else in the country.

Here are five trends that are emerging in the industry


Home Builders are rallying around a new product line that offers new home buyers less features, which enables the price of a new home to be more affordable

“The spend per family is going down for options as the new home prices are going up,” he said. “We are seeing this across the country.”

Crowley pointed to the DR Horton’s branded Express product, and Meritage’s Live Now as examples. “People are sizing down instead of up, keeping their debt at bay and allowing families to take advantage of low interest rates and these new product lines to get into a new home.”  He added “these home builders are exchanging customization for the price-service-value proposition.”

According to Crowley, 90% of all homes bought in the Phoenix area are resales. This new approach has home builders looking to encroach on the resale market.


Interest rate changes are driving sales in the among the higher end price brackets

Crowley is seeing this at his design centers across the country.

Ryan Huffman of Mattamy Homes, also agrees, “the higher interest rates are starting to drive sales,” he said at a recent Home Builders of Central Arizona meeting. “I just got my first call a few weeks ago from someone who waited too long and was pushed out of the market.”


20% of all new homes are being bought by millennials, which is sure to grow

“These means home builders have to improve the online experience for buying homes but also choosing options online,” he said. A quarter of all US millionaires are millennials and is expected to have the greatest impact on the housing and design industries over the next two decades. ISI is actively working with home builders to be their bridge to technology so that they can reach these buyers. “Buyers want to self-discover and buy rather than to be sold at a design appointment,” he said. He added that “they want to feel knowledgeable and in control of the process.”


Infill is hot

People are buying closer to work and the city centers. Huffman is in the process of launching Rhythm, a high density community, which features multi-family housing in Chandler at I10 and Ray Road. When a pre-sale was offered in October, he had people camping out. 34 units were sold. “We didn’t even have slabs on the ground. They bought based on paper.” He added that millennials were driving the demand on this property.


Active Adult is on a roll

20% of the population will be over the age of 65 by the year 2030. The youngest baby boomers are currently 52. According to Moira McGarvey at GangsAway, many of these boomers are drawn to Active Adult Communities (AAC) because “it’s not s easy to meet people and get involved when you are without schools and jobs to help you engage.” McGarvey points out a plethora of niches that have blossomed among AACs. These include country clubs, resort living, self-contained villages, Gay/Lesbian communities, hippie style communes and urban enclaves.

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Rosaria Cain is CEO of knoodle and advises clients in health care, real estate and manufacturing in strategy, content, creative, paid media and digital.