We’re teaming up with some of our favorite local builders to get a snapshot of the current real estate market from their perspective. We’ve asked them to share their unique viewpoint on trends, products, and buyer interest. Join us as we we chat with a different builder each week.
This week our “State of the Union” snapshot comes from Stanley Martin Homes, Charlottesville. We sat down with their General Sales Manager, Chris Sylves, to learn more.
Nest Realty: Can you begin by telling us what three words would you use to describe 2015? And why?
Chris Sylves: Choice, Optimism, and “Livable Design.” In 2015 we saw a rise in the importance of a well-designed home that is built for how home buyers live today, and with that, we saw home buyer confidence grow. We recognize that now, more than ever, home buyers have more home choices. To stand out, we need to be clever and build for how the home buyer lives.
NR: What local design trends stood out in 2015?
CS: There were three trends that really stood out. First, neutrals with pops of bright colors. This trend does a great job in highlighting key design elements in a home. Mixing accents of blue, green, brown, and even orange against neutrals, like greige (grey-beige), make the rooms more memorable and add some style to what could be a boring neutral. The second trend we’re seeing is rustic, warmer toned woods. It’s our favorite look for wood right now—it works really well with the neutrals and pops of color, and also brings warmth into a room. The third trend we’re seeing is outdoor living spaces. Owners are eager to extend the living space of their home with livability patios, outdoor fireplaces, and kitchens.
NR: What were buyers demanding in 2015?
CS: First, livability. Our buyers were looking for properties with open layouts and livability features. The homes of 2015 were much more open and less compartmentalized—the flow became extremely important. Technology and lifestyle changes means buyers want places to work in the home and outdoor living is extremely important.
Secondly, storage. Our buyers have more “stuff” than ever before, so we built bigger closets and specialized storage, like walk-in closets, a butler’s pantry, and a more efficient laundry room.
Great neighborhoods in the right locations was also a demand. Buyers are looking for places that are not only beautiful inside, but also around the home. They want gathering places, parks and trails, so the neighborhood is just as important as the home design. Lastly, buyers want their neighborhood to be in the heart of their daily conveniences—location is always paramount.
NR: What national building trends are you following?
CS: Green Living: We study the research around green design, like different framing techniques, solar technology, thermal barriers, and the performance of house wraps. If there is an efficient way to build a better home, we are going to learn about it and pass the benefits on to our homebuyers.
Micro: As millennials are looking for affordable options, they will be looking to buy smaller spaces but they still will want livability and practical features. This becomes increasingly more important in more urban or downtown areas where the millennials would like to be.
Tech: As technology advances, there are plenty of opportunities to drive down costs, build new processes, and act on real time data. Since technology can change an industry overnight, we believe that home building could be next.
NR: Well Chris, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. It sounds like 2015 was a great year for Stanley Martin Homes, and we look forward to seeing what 2016 will bring!
To learn more about Stanley Martin Homes, Charlottesville, contact the builder representative for Nest Realty, Greg Slater. Greg has extensive experience in most segments of the residential market and is known as one of the area’s foremost new construction experts.