Stay Atop New Home Trends to Meet Customer Needs in 2018

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What Are Manufacturers Bringing to Market This Year?

The manufactured home buyer is becoming more discerning with each new year, and the top home builders and retailers in the business are taking notice and responding in their new home trends.

Customers want the latest offerings with their home; the architecture, designs, and color schemes they see on their favorite HGTV show.

Industry leaders this spring are showing homes that were built to surprise and inspire.

What Drives New Home Trends?

new home trends
A new home from Fleetwood.
Design, Color, Material Choices

Tammie Davidson, national interior designer for Champion Homes, said the mid-century modern look has remained a strong customer preference, but has extended from the décor to other areas of the home as well.

“That mid-century look is back, but in the cabinetry and finishes as well as how a home is furnished,” she said. “In our southern markets we’ve introduced a lot of contemporary looking materials.

Our dealers feel we’ve done a good job with that, but have asked to also include some of the rustic elements that have been popular. So, we are implementing more of those natural colors.”

Black, white, grey and brushed wood are mainstays, but some of the latest colors can add “pop” to the room. Some of the demand for this, she said, has been the millennial buyer.

“Finally, navy blue has made an impression in the market,” Davidson said. “That’s been a real statement. I also use some soft blue and greens, but there is no implementation of a dominant color. That’s because you have to leave to the homeowner the ability to put their feel in the place.

“You have that contemporary residential look with flashes of color so that if the customer wants to change or implement something you can do that without changing everything.

Shiplap panel and flooring in a brushed white or natural wood tones have stayed strong, but Davidson says she’s been working with suppliers to gain a layered effect with that same product.

“We’re creating patterns for a layered effect on panel or vinyl flooring that gives that wood grain more of a visual depth,” she said. “The wood is staying but you need to keep it fresh.”

Energy Efficient Systems Among New Home Trends

Lindsay Ellis is the director of property marketing for Equity Lifestyle Properties. She works with community managers to ensure homebuyers see the amenities they desire when touring a home.

Ellis said among the top requests from customers are upgraded appliances and flooring.

“These features go beyond what’s offered in the standard home. So, we help put these packages together, whether that means specifying product so the home comes with these amenities or ensuring the availability to be added on.”

With the push for upgraded finishings is the desire of homebuyers to have an ensuite bathroom and added storage.

“That’s a master bedroom with an attached bathroom that likely has a double vanity and would include plenty storage space,” Ellis said. “There’s a much higher demand than ever for walk-in closets, as well. This is one of those things that people get excited about when they’re walking through a home.”

Other attributes homebuyers comment on is an open floor plan and an abundance of natural light.

“Whether that means more windows or bigger windows, it’s something that nearly every homebuyer appreciates. And energy efficiency is in high demand, from appliances to windows and doors, as well as HVAC system.”

As for built-in features, the kitchen island continues to be held in high regard. “It’s one of the top two things that people ask for, because it’s an area of functionality, especially for entertaining,” Ellis said. “It makes the kitchen look very nice, and adds counter space and storage.”

New Home Trends – Size and Functionality

Mike O’Steen is a regional vice president for Cavco.

“Our objective is to bring contemporary original floor plans to the market,” O’Steen said.

“We also need to keep in mind, along with getting the customer what they want, that keeping things simple and ready to go is essential,” he said.  “The biggest thing we’re hearing right now is that you can’t get a home fast enough. And that’s new. In years and even months previous that’s not been the case.

“We want to be delivering on an order in six weeks or less. That’s helping the customer and homeowner, creating an efficient delivery of homes,” he added.

With that in mind, Cavco has instituted foundational processes that allow the company stay efficient during times of heavy demand.

To meet new home trends, the company offers use of vinyl on gypsum wallboard as opposed to a drywall product. This simple measure means builders have any entire systemic component to the process they no longer need to consider; allowing added time and attention to the finer options customers seek.

One of the homes that debuted at The Louisville Show is a multi-section home intended for private land, which is a large portion of the sales Cavco and Fleetwood’s dealers see in Tennessee.

New Home Trends
Fleetwood Homes at The Louisville Show.

“This is a mid-level home that has a living room and den layout, ceramic tile walk-in shower and a free-standing tub. There are four bedrooms, and two bathrooms,” O’Steen said.  “In terms of trends, the shower is very popular. It’s a 48×72” shower with no door, and you just walk in and straight to the shower head.”

New Home Trends – A Question of Floor Plans

The home is bigger – at 32×76’ – than any house Cavco has brought to Louisville in more than a decade. Cavco’s other multi-section home, a 28×62’ home from the Canyon Lake series, is a “packaged up” house with a lot of options.

“You come into a foyer and have a formal dining area,” said Wade Wells, the general manager for Fleetwood in Lafayette, Tenn. “The master bath is a new set up with the walk-in tile show and free standing tub. We have a large kitchen with a lot of storage, and a gathering center in the middle of the kitchen.

“This is a spin on the traditional island, but it has a thicker bar surface and is surrounded by bar stools for people to gather,” he said. “It complements the formal dining area as a less formal gathering space.”

Walk-in Closets and Storage

The home also has spacious bedrooms with walk-in closets and built-in cabinet storage, as well as a nice utility closet and designed coat racks.

Another of Fleetwood’s latest product offering to address new home trends also is from the Canyon Lake series. However, it is a 16×76’ single-section floor plan that can meet size restriction of many manufactured home communities.

“This has a foyer entrance too, which is rare in a single wide,” Wells said. “One of the things that’s been good for us in the last couple years has been the rustic looking ceiling beam, with a fluted finish and accent grooves that adds to the look from the entry way.”

Another leading manufacturer with new product is Champion Home Builders, which sells Redman, Dutch Housing and Fortune Home brands.

“We’re showing four new homes, including a pair of Champion Community Series Homes, one single-section and one-multi section,” Champion Home Builders General Manager Jay Ciokajlo.

“Specifically, the single-section home is a new, unique floor plan. We’re really excited for attendees to see this,” he said. “It has 4-inch canned lighting, new colors and a new kitchen butcher block island.

“The floorplan has an entertainment center, which is a fixed architectural piece that most single-section home would not have.”

The bathroom has an Agile shower, which is a brand many consumers ask about, he said.

A Home For Any Setting

Jim Lashbrook is the sales manager in Topeka, Kan., for the Redman brand. He said a primary trend in 2018 will be finding ways to abide by community size restrictions with homes that will surprise.

“When we go into a show with a floorplan we want to discuss the precise market we’re looking to attract,” Lashbrook said.

“A lot of the communities we look at have older, smaller spaces. And we don’t want to build a bigger house for the sake of building a bigger house,” he said. “We want to be able to satisfy space restrictions with as much value as we can pack in. It’s small, well thought out and useful.

“You don’t feel cramped,” he said. “There’s a nice living room with plenty of storage space. It’s airy and inviting.”

Lashbrook said most of the customers who walk into a new Champion Home Builders model have one initial comment. “Wow, I didn’t know you could do this.”

“We want to drive awareness and surprise people with what we can do with a manufactured or modular home,” he said. “Even if you were in the market, or even bought a new manufactured home five years ago, the models that are being made today will really astonish the buyer.

“It’s what they see on HGTV or House Hunters and they fall in love,” Lashbrook said.