These 10 forces are changing the face of residential housing

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Australia may be in the grip of a house price funk with price falls across the major capital cities continuing, but there is little doubt that once prices settle – whenever that may be – the nation’s love affair with housing as a family’s most important asset and investment is unlikely to change anytime soon.

But the type of housing we are going to live in is being transformed, according to a recent report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In its report, “Building the Housing of the Future”, authors Matthias Tauber , Daniel Feldkamp , Christian Guse , Ailke Heidemann , Till Zupancic , and Tobias Schriefl argue there are ten forces transforming residential housing, which in turn are changing the types of housing in which people across the globe will be living in in the future.

“The factors that are changing the concept of “home, sweet home” include both consumer trends, which are creating demand for new forms of housing, and construction industry trends, which affect how organizations operate and what they can supply,” they say.

On the consumer side, they highlight the continued urbanisation as populations move toward cities, demographic influences on family and thus household size, a desire for greener homes and thus a focus on sustainability, affordability, and the rise of the digital economy which has increased the desire to work remotely.

Source: BCG

On the supply side, industry trends like the type of innovative construction technology Business Insider has documented previously with Australia’s one-armed bricklaying robot are part of a technological revolution sweeping construction.

The authors also highlight changed construction methods such as pre-fabrication and modularisation are being used to improve productivity, while the internet of things is helping make houses “smart” and more efficient. Technology is also helping bring builders closer to the end buyer as well as helping solve some of the productivity and skills shortage issues.

The result, Tauber and his co-authors say, is that while “conventional single- and multifamily homes aren’t going away…new forms of residential housing will become more widespread and, eventually, could surpass traditional dwellings”. These changes are going to be driven by the trends outlined above, BCG says noting, “future residences will probably include elements of multiple types”.

Source: BCG

Naturally, as urbanisation drives more people into cities the value of any plot of available land is pressured upwards. Thus affordable housing with taller buildings for any given plot of land is seen as a key emerging trend.

It’s a long way from the quarter-acre block or single-family residence still beloved by many Australians but we’ll see more “mid- to high-rise structures with relatively small units that are built with basic, inexpensive materials and comparatively little technology in order to make construction fast and cost-effective, which lowers prices for buyers,” the authors say.

They also believe shared housing structures with “small individual units and larger, multifunctional spaces that all residents use: think university dormitories but for all ages and with upgraded amenities” will grow in popularity. Likewise sustainability and eco-friendly housing is on the rise. So too are flexible and healthy housing and of course there is stylish housing for those who crave their individuality amid these trends.

In the end the authors say the concept of housing is evolving and while “homes will always have walls and doors, ceilings and floors…what those materials are made of, where they’re made, how they’re installed, where they’re situated, and who lives within the spaces that they create will change”.

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