WASHINGTON —

A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) shows that while home buying is picking up, the recent housing downturn has changed what Americans are looking for in their next house.

NAHB Study: Homes will be smaller, greenerBuilders surveyed by the NAHB said they expect homes to average 2,152 square feet in 2015, 10 percent smaller than the average size of single-family homes started in the first three quarters of 2010. The living room is high on the endangered list — 52 percent of builders said they expect it to be merged with other spaces in the home by 2015 and 30 percent predicted it will vanish entirely.

"As an overall share of total floor space, 54 percent of builders said the family room is likely to increase," said Rose Quint, NAHB's assistant vice president for survey research. "That makes it the only area of the home likely to get bigger."

In addition, the relative size of the entry foyer and dining room are likely to be diminished by 2015, according to the survey.  However, she said, the average new home of 2015 is likely to feature a great room comprised of the kitchen, foyer and living room; a walk-in closet in the master bedroom; a laundry room; ceiling fans; a master bedroom on the first floor in homes with two stories; and a two-car garage.

In addition to floor plan changes, 68 percent of builders surveyed said that homes in 2015 will also include more green features and technology, including low-E windows; engineered wood beams, joists or tresses; water-efficient features such as dual-flush toilets or low-flow faucets; and an Energy Star rating for the whole house.

Posted by Karen Koenig

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