Kiss These Once-Popular Home Features Goodbye

Times are tough in the home-building industry, meaning the 500,000 or so new single-family homes expected to be built this year are going to include more practical and value-conscious features and fewer wish-list items.

Outdoor Kitchens & Outdoor Fireplaces

Along with outdoor kitchens, outdoor fireplaces aren’t expected to be in such great demand. They are the second least-likely feature to be included in new homes in 2012, according to a survey from the National Association of Home Builders.

Photo: Exteriors UnlimitedSunrooms

Sunrooms are also on the wane. “Builders are focusing on features that add immediate value and make a home more practical,” said Rose Quint, assistant vice president of survey research, economics and housing for the NAHB. What’s more practical? Things like walk-in closets, linen closets and laundry rooms.

Two-Story Family Room

The family room itself may be making a comeback as a gathering center of the home, but the two-story family room is getting cut off at the knees. On a scale of 1 to 5, builders gave it only a 2.2 as a feature for new homes in 2012.

Photo: The Toni Everett Co.Media Room

Even with all the options in home entertainment today, themedia room isn’t high on the list for home builders. You’re much more likely to find a charging station for all your devices hidden away in a kitchen-island cabinet in 2012.

[Also see: Cool homes of fashion leaders]

Two-Story Foyer

Like the two-story family room, the two-story foyer is on the way out. Blame utility bills: Home buyers are more focused on energy-saving windows and appliances than on soaring spaces in 2012.

Master-Planned Developments

Master-planned developments like Lago Estancia in Phoenix often tout their walking and jogging trails as a community attraction. But such amenities will not be popular this year, home builders say.

Luxury Master Bathrooms

Luxury master bathrooms with multiple-head showers will be getting toned down in 2012. Something more practical — say, a double sink in the kitchen — is much more likely to be included in new homes this year.

Photo: Buchanan Designs Inc.Formal Living Room

The demise of the formal living room is predicted once again in 2012. Home buyers are much more likely to request a great room that combines the kitchen, family room and living room into one large open space at the center of the home.

Whirlpool Tubs

As with the multiple-head showers, whirlpool tubs in the master suite are also on the wane. You are more likely to see stand-alone tubs, in classic or contemporary styles, that make a design statement in the master bath, said Jill Waage, editorial director/home for Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

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