I live in the Twin Cities area of
/ St.Paul, where we have one of the largest Parade of Home tours in the country. Every year I look through all of the Parade offerings to see if I can identify any new trends. Minneapolis
A couple of things have struck me; 1) how very similar many of these houses are and 2) this economy can not be a great environment for many home builders. The question begs to be asked; if you are by-and-large building the same house as your competition, how is your much sought after customer going to decide which house to purchase? Right, pretty much on price alone. This doesn't seem like a good business formula to me.
As an architect I have worked with a number of builders that understand the benefits of a creative and well thought out home design. Builders such as this are not afraid to separate themselves from the pack. Now more than ever architects and builders need to examine whether their current business practices are serving them well. Perhaps this is the time to consider doing something completely different, because quite honestly the consumer has become much more savvy and selective! They are going to demand smaller, efficient, better designed, and more economical homes. Cookie cutter homes, clone homes, and yes even McMansion homes may always have a share of the market, but I believe if we don't as an industry, embrace and adapt to the ever changing building market, we will continue to see one business after another close their doors for good. Now how sad is that?