What Design Trends Will Impact Property Value in the Next 5 Years?

What Design Trends Will Impact Property Value in the Next 5 Years?

As part of our monthly survey series, we asked appraisers, “What design trend or feature do you think will have the biggest impact on the value of commercial or residential properties in the next 5 years?” The most popular answer we received was “solar” or “solar panels.” Other top answers included home offices, multigenerational living, ADUs, smart home technology, and more. Read the full survey results below to learn what design trends will impact property value in the near future.

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What design trends will have the biggest impact on property value in the next 5 years?

Here’s a recap of the most popular answers we received from our community of real estate appraisers, followed by their comments below. Appraisers tend to agree that the following design trends and features may have the greatest impact on commercial or residential property value in the next few years:

  • Solar panels and green features
  • Home offices
  • Conversion of commercial properties
  • Multi-generational living
  • Accessibility features
  • Accessory dwelling units (ADUs)
  • Smart home technology
  • Smaller spaces
  • Multi-family residences
  • Outdoor living space
  • Barndominiums
  • Modern kitchens and baths

Solar panels and other green features

“Solar and energy efficient features. As we move towards more climate awareness, I believe green homes’ value and features will come into the spotlight more.”

“Green features, such as solar panels. The energy crisis and costs have impacted more people, moving them to look for more energy-efficient features. I see more market acceptance for solar panels than in the past.”

“More solar power and energy saving technologies…Solar is the biggest example of saving energy and controlling a monthly bill that seems to be getting out of hand.”

“I think that solar will become more accepted and may even end up required. There is so much emphasis on green energy, and in my residential business I see more and more whole-house solar systems. I think in the next 5 years this will be more widespread. I personally am not impressed with the costs compared to savings, but it appears the market is beginning to show more favorable reaction for solar.”

“With the cost of living rising faster than the majority of consumer budgets can survive, ways to save money by being more energy efficient will be a smart option.”

“Green construction.”

“Electric vehicle chargers.”

“Features that take into account climate change…Modular and prefabricated homes are more economical to build, can be more affordable, reduce the need for limited resources, and better utilize what resources must be used.”

Interested in appraising energy efficient homes? Learn the ins and outs of green home appraisals in our free guide.

Home offices

“The dedicated home office will affect both [commercial and residential property values].”

“More and more people working remotely that want to control their office look. Dedicated office with view and/or amenities to help them feel more productive.”

“I believe there will be multiple office spaces to accommodate two adults working from home.”

Conversion of commercial properties

“Turning empty commercial real estate into residential rental space. Lot of big empty buildings with parking, heavy duty plumbing and electric. Could be a savior for empty office buildings with people wanting to work from home.”

“There will be a significant push to analyze the HABU of commercial office buildings in downtown cores of major cities. The repurposing of office buildings to residential uses will alleviate commercial vacancy rates and bolster the need for more residential housing. This will also be supported by cities to revitalize downtown core retail/restaurant businesses that are struggling due to employers allowing more work-from-home policies. Design trends focusing on ways to transition office space to acceptable residential design at a reasonable cost will be a topic of discussion going forward.”

“The repurposing of commercial properties for another use is gaining more traction and acceptance as land values soar. The conversion of old factories and similar (shopping malls, golf courses, etc.) for another commercial use (medical, logistics, etc.) or residential use (rentals, condos, SFR new construction, etc.) has significant potential to take functional obsolescence and make it an optimal useful again.”

Multi-generational living

“With home price appreciation far outstripping income growth in the low to middle portion of the ‘middle class’ range, limited home inventory growth rate and aging population, multi-gen home designs are a way to address affordable housing with dignity.”

“I think the value of children living closer to their parents is becoming more and more important. Young families need the experience of the older generation, and aging parents need to have both the social and practical support their children can provide.”

Accessibility features

“Our area is becoming older and older and the trend has been for more one-story homes with accessibility features such as walk-in showers with benches, wider doors and hallways, and ramps from attached garages into the house, to name a few.”

“One floor living. The boomers are aging quickly—including myself—and one floor living with the fewest steps will continue to be most in demand.”

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs)

“Residential ADU. ADUs will not just be for granny. Young people who cannot afford to buy or build a house of their own will find that an ADU is an affordable alternative.”

“Auxiliary living area, or extra quarters for work space. People are looking for ways to offset the cost of living, by having an auxiliary living area to rent, or by being able to have an office/workspace at home.”

Smart home technology

“The ability to customize spaces/environment through technology. The effective use of climate control and lighting not only responds directly to the end user, but the bottom line of operational metrics—specifically utility costs. The use of technology to build ‘profiles’ of consumers will afford the physical improvements flexibility—this flexibility is a value add from a market participant point of view.”

“Technology will accelerate its growth in the coming years. Things like locks that sense you coming, identify you and unlock, lights that come on automatically, more security. These items have been available to those who could afford them, but the price points will make these technologies available to all.”

“The desire for high-tech and high-speed internet. The millennials and gen Z have had advanced tech since they could walk. I think they are going to demand great connectivity in homes for remote work, life and entertainment. Setting up auto-deliveries and having easy storage away from porch pirates, for example.”

Smaller spaces

“Less square footage.”

“Smaller residences and commercial businesses.”

“Space saving designs for both commercial and residential.”

“The increase of remote work and online shopping reducing demand [for commercial properties]. The pandemic has sped up the decline of physical locational shopping. The spaces will change to smaller service-oriented space.”

“Tiny homes. I think more people want these and they will compete with the larger homes.”

Multi-family residences


“Apartments, condos, multi-family development increasing. SFRs could be outpaced by more affordable and migratory-friendly options.”

“AirBnB single and multi-family homes used as commercial and income property.”

“Cities are broadening their zoning requirements to allow for additional dwelling units (attached and detached) to be built on a small lots in the effort to address housing shortages. Small lot sizes, 5000 square feet and under are being allowed to build attached townhome design style 4 to 6 unit properties. Lots that at one point that had a one unit small single family home on a 5000 square foot lot are now 4 to 6 unit attached units to address shortages in housing.”

Outdoor living space

“Outside living room (deck or patio upgrades).”

“Covered outdoor kitchens.”

“Walkable neighborhoods with outdoor living.”


“In my market barndominiums are becoming the new go-to home style/design, especially for empty-nesters who want zero clearance homes thinking toward their future possibility of walkers and/or wheelchair needs and large garages for current storage of toys such as motor homes, campers, ATVs, snowmobiles, etc.”

“I appraise in both urban and rural areas. I see a new trend of barndominiums sweeping the rural area. The new design consists of vaulted ceilings, elevated ceilings, high end finishes, energy upgrades, and stellar storage spaces.”

Modern kitchens and baths

“Kitchens of course and always.”

“Nice kitchens and baths or kitchen and bath renovations have always produced the best return on investment.”

“Paint colors and floor coverings, along with kitchen and bathroom remodeling.”

What other design trends could impact property value?

In addition to the most popular answers summarized above, here are a few other design trends and features that our survey respondents identified as potentially having an impact on property value in the next 5 years.

Design trends that may be fading out:

  • Gray tones
  • Formal dining rooms
  • Farmhouse chic
  • Open concept floor plans

“The END of the gray-all-over single family home!”

“Formal dining rooms seem to be used more for office space or kids’ play rooms. The market may not see the need for a formal dining space if the eat-in kitchen offers a suitable space.”

“Farmhouse chic. This design trend will date homes like harvest gold dated 1970s homes. It has been done to death! I blame Joanna Gaines.”

“Open concepts. Some homes have gone too far in the open concept direction and feel cavernous and sterile. I think there will be a return to some segmentation of living spaces, although not as closed off as it once was.”

Design trends that may be on the rise:

  • More sleek or plain home designs
  • Larger lot size
  • “Man caves” and “she sheds”
  • Backup generators
  • No-care landscaping

“Due to construction costs, I believe new home designs are moving to a more sleek or plain design. I believe this will result in a lower median new home price in most areas of the country.”

“Here in Nashville everything is becoming an HPR and lot sizes have been cut in half. Privacy will become a rare benefit and homes with larger lot sizes will be exponentially worth more.”

“I am noticing an interest in ‘man caves’ or ‘she sheds.’ People seem to want a place for friends and family to gather and have fun. She sheds seem to be more hobby-based, such as for quilting, art, pottery etc.”

Learn how to adjust appraised value for design trends

Get insights into developing market-based adjustments for changing market conditions over time, builder upgrades, accessory dwelling units, and more in our continuing education course, “Supporting Your Adjustments: Methods for Residential Appraisers.”

Green home trends like solar panels, in particular, are on the rise. Learn all about appraising energy efficient homes—including how to adjust appraised value for green home upgrades—in our green home appraisal courses.

What design trends do you think will impact property value in the next 5 years? Join the conversation! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Or, sign up for our newsletter to get a new survey question in your inbox each month.

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