What’s New in the New-Home Market?

Boyce Thompson’s The New New Home aims to “demystify” the factors in play when it comes to building a new home in the current market, with special attention paid to environmental and economic factors that many buyers might want to consider when purchasing or building a new home.


Credit: Will Scullin

In general, The New New Home proves a useful guidebook for people looking to build the home of their dreams. Thompson offers tips on making homes more energy efficient with careful planning: “Basic decisions—like whether you want a one- or two-story house, whether the garage will be attached, the height of ceilings, or whether you use dark or light colors on exterior or interior surfaces—profoundly impact energy consumption,” he writes.

Thompson urges those planning to build a new home to consider everything from what kind of lifestyle they want to lead in their new home (is a formal dining space necessary? How often do you entertain visitors?) to whether anyone in the family plays an instrument (will you need space for a large grand piano? Is a sound-proof area a requirement?). Tell buyers to collect pictures of design elements features that appeal to them, so that they can approach designers and builders with ideas already in mind (the book even highlights some homes—with pictures!—that have desirable features).

There’s also plenty of advice throughout The New New Home for those hoping to build environmentally-conscious homes, although an index or a glossary with a breakdown of the convoluted industry standards that determine whether a house is eco-friendly or not would have been a nice touch for real estate agents, home buyers, and builders alike.

Thompson also predicts what’s coming next for sustainable housing, so if you have clients who are really ahead of the curve, you’ll be able to understand what they need. For example, he says smart metering systems that can tell you the best time of day to do a load of laundry or run the dishwasher are coming. And recent news supports his position: Just this year, Google purchased the startup Nest Labs Inc., a company that produces smart metering systems and smoke alarms.

If you work frequently with clients looking to build their own homes, or want to get a good idea of what qualifies as an eco-conscious home, keep The New New Home on hand.