National Housing Trend Reflected in the Bay Area: Homeowners Are Building Smaller Custom Homes with a High Degree of Customization

Alamo, California (EastBayDaily) — Reflecting a recent national trend, San Francisco Bay Area residents are choosing to build smaller homes, though with greater customization and flexibility, according to Fautt Homes, a high-end, custom home builder in Contra Costa County.

“This growing tendency from homeowners to choose to build smaller custom homes averaging 4,000 square feet is more than just people’s caution due to the recent housing crisis,” said Jeff Fautt, the co-founder of Fuatt Homes. “From what we’ve seen, choosing a smaller floor plan is a conscious decision to better utilize space due to a number of lifestyle and energy-efficiency reasons.”

“With land prices rising fast in many prime East Bay locations, homeowners are also choosing to sacrifice the need for traditional spaces like living rooms, for example,” added Shelby Fautt, who co-owns the company with her husband Jeff. “Interestingly, it may be a generational thing. We’ve noticed a strong shift in how rooms are being used, which certainly is contributing to this new home-building preference.”

Fautt Homes’ recent experience with building smaller, though well-equipped custom homes, is a trend that has been reported by Angie’s List, an online home service directory, and other publications. Industry experts suggest homeowners want a “good fit” with their newly remodeled homes: greater comfort, more multi-use space and no reduction in amenities.

Over the past 12 months, Jeff and Shelby Fautt have noticed four distinct changes in people purchasing custom or luxury homes in the Contra Costa County:     A greater flexibility with how a space is going to be utilized     An increased preference for smaller but more customized spaces     A longing by families living in our high-tech culture to want greater simplicity in the home     A desire by couples to “keep the family close” by creating homes with open floor plans

Fautt Homes’ five most recent custom-building projects have averaged around 4,200 square feet. The average size home the company built prior to 2012 was approximately 5,700 square feet. This local down-sizing trend has coincided with a growth in consumer confidence in the Bay Area housing market, one that by many financial indicators is on the rebound.

Jeff pointed out that scaling down doesn’t mean a homeowners misses out on top-notch features. “We just finished building a home in Alamo and it had a lot of custom molding, very high ceilings and hardwood floors made from hickory, among many other comforts, which is standard for us,” he added. “Clients are now requesting more built-ins, audiovisual components, more cabinetry and custom finishes and garage upgrades such as flooring and storage.

Shelby added that many first-time home buyers, mainly couples in their 30s, don’t necessarily see a need for a formal living spaces like previous generations. “Rooms that serve multiple uses are more popular these days. I think it’s a lifestyle shift, a need for less formality. But home offices are still very important to clients as they are able to work from home with the aide of video conferencing and other technologies.”

“People are more high tech these days,” Shelby went on, “but most homeowners are less concerned about categorizing their living space. Couples with school-age children like the idea of an open floor plan for keeping the entire family within close range, For instance, many prefer large, built-in desks for computer use to keep an eye on what children are doing.” She added that an attached or detached covered cabana with outdoor kitchen, TV and fireplace is also very popular. “It’s like adding an outdoor family room for all seasons and gatherings.”

The Fautts agreed that however one builds a home, one key concern is how that space is going to be used. “Custom spaces on a smaller scale are about meeting individual needs,” Jeff explained. “For our custom remodels, amenities often include better designed shelving to improve organization; improved energy efficiency with items like solar and LED lighting; and even garage upgrades for additional work spaces.”

“I think an important reason why Fautt Homes is going strong today,” Shelby reflected, “is that over the past few years, even when the market bottomed out, many contractors kept building larger homes. We listened closely to our clients’ needs and built what they wanted: smaller, excellent designs, and customized spaces with plenty of amenities that allowed for greater comfort and flexibility.”

For further information: Visit Phone: 925.362.8940 sfautt(at)fautthomes(dot)com


Jeff and Shelby Fautt


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