|Elissa A. Morgante|
Single-family homes are also being designed with mental wellness in mind. Elissa Morgante, co-principal of architecture and interior design firm Morgante Wilson Architects, notes more clients are requesting yoga rooms and meditation areas in their homes. “Location is a key consideration for these Zen spaces, as they’re meant to be an escape from the busiest areas of the home,” she said.
The trend is also growing at apartment communities. Property managers at Residences of the Grove in suburban Downers Grove planted an herb garden for residents. “Our foodie residents love being able to add fresh ingredients that they picked right outside their building to their meals,” said Diana Pittro, executive vice president of RMK Management Corp.
Communities, reports local empty nesters make up the majority of sales at Clocktower Pointe, its condo development in Countryside. “At this stage in their lives, baby boomers want to make things as simple as possible,” said Brennan. “For most, that means enjoying a maintenance-free lifestyle with plenty of space and upscale finishes for hosting family – it doesn’t mean having to upkeep a second home far away.”
Empty nesters in search of a second home are also choosing closer-to-home options. Tammy Barry, director of sales and marketing for Heritage Harbor Ottawa Resort in Ottawa, says a large percentage of buyers at the marina resort community are retirees from Chicago’s suburbs who want a low-maintenance home with access to amenities like boating and hiking, but without moving too far from their primary home. “Heritage Harbor gives them the sense of getting away, but it’s still very easy to get back to Chicago whenever they want,” she said.
4. Secondary Spaces Take Center Stage: As the median size of new homes has decreased in 2015, buyers in 2016 will look for ways to showcase their personal style within a smaller footprint and likely turn to secondary spaces as an outlet. "A trend we are seeing among a number of our buyers is that they are taking full advantage of the variety of high-end, stylish finishes we offer and adding distinct design elements to one small, but high-impact part of the home, such as a powder room that every visitor and guest will see,” said Jeff Benach, co-principal of Lexington Homes. “That’s especially true with buyers moving up from a condo or apartment who are eager to make the home their own, and want to add luxury within a budget."
Brunhofer of Meritus Homes is also seeing buyers at its semi-custom communities in Elgin and St. Charles invest in more functional upgrades. “Our buyers know they’ll get more impact from a carefully crafted mudroom that will keep their family organized than a two-story foyer,” he said. “Even tricking out the butler’s pantry so they’ll appreciate it every time they entertain is a small, yet meaningful choice.”
At 1000 South Clark, JDL Development’s new luxury Chicago apartment tower that will open in early 2016, gaming amenities will be front and center. “Rather than placing arcade games, foosball and billiards in isolated corners of the building, we’ve added them to inviting spaces that also include TVs and controlled music so it’s more of a lounge environment,” said Yale Dieckmann, executive vice president and chief investment officer at JDL Development.
REVA Development Partners also reports residents of all ages like to “get their game on,” naming the pool table and bocce court as top features at its rental communities The Oaks of Vernon Hills and Northgate Crossing. “Residents young and old are drawn to these games, and they’re an easy, low-pressure way to meet neighbors, socialize and build community,” said Matt Nix, principal of REVA Development Partners.
|Jerry S. James|
RMK Management also uses a scan-and-notify electronic package management system, in addition to offering extra storage space at the nearly 30 communities it manages throughout the Midwest. “Efficient management of deliveries is key to staying on top of the volume of packages, and that starts with notifying residents nearly instantly when an item has arrived so they can collect it,” said Diana Pittro, executive vice president of RMK Management.
8. Master Baths Go Minimalist: Citing Remodeling Magazine’s 2015 “Cost vs. Value” report – in which midrange bathroom remodels returned just 70 percent of their cost at sale, and upscale remodels returned just 60 percent – many local experts predict sweeping master baths with supersized showers and tubs will fall out of favor with buyers in 2016.