2013 Housing Trends

What are Buyers looking for in 2013?

Housing trends come and go -- just as in fashion. One day you are "in" and the next day you're "out."

Take formal dining rooms. Once a mainstay in every American home, they are now disappearing as fast as Edison's incandescent light bulb. Parlors (whatever thosewere) are gone, too.

Details some buyers once insisted they couldn't live without are getting the ax as well: built-in TVs, intercom systems, and European-style pull-out pantries.

So now that we know what's out, what's in for 2013? I'm glad you asked. Drum roll please ...

I wanted to tell you about modern electric light fusion sushi bars. But after combing through Pinterest and trade magazines for the latest, all I've got is basic, bread and butter, useful information on suburban housing.

The No. 1 most important trend of 2013 will be -- wait for it -- FLEXIBLE HOME SPACE!

This means that dens and libraries must also think of themselves as possible nurseries and guest rooms.

Playrooms and other open space areas should have the potential to be closed off, if need be (think French doors with curtains).

And those remodeling or building new may want to consider making half-baths whole. Every square inch of today's smaller homes must be usable! Wasted space is not a turn-on.

The No. 2 trend falls in line with this push for flexibility. Ready? DUAL MASTERS!

Or guest suites, if you prefer. Families are doubling up again: grandparents with their kids, and college-age young adults are moving back in with their parents.

These buyers are seeking functional multigenerational homes. But they don't just want a long hallway with multiple bedrooms branching off here and there. Multigenerational homes feature separate entrances, parking areas and often a small kitchenette in the second master. Some go so far as to provide a completely separate apartment within the larger home.

Coming in at No. 3: ACCESSIBILITY.

Whereas buyers of the past could be expected to hold a home for maybe five to 10 years, today's buyers are focusing on putting their money into their forever-and-ever home. One and done. So, with that in mind, they seek one-level or main-level plans, open baths, wide hallways, and easy inside/outside access.

Lastly, the Garage Factor.

I really don't get this one, entirely, but if statistics are to be believed, then buyers are looking for bigger garages -- three, four bays. And not necessarily to make room for more vehicles either. Man caves, woodshops, workout rooms and storage all top the list of buyers' reasoning for more concrete and shelving, please.

So there you have it, the top four home trends going into 2013. Maybe they aren't sexy like hand-troweled double-barrel vaults, but I have a feeling these "trends" will stand the test of time and become part of the new housing landscape.

Alisha Alway Braatz is a buyer's broker for Coldwell Banker Advantage One Properties in Eugene, Ore., and a real estate humorist.