Introducing the Residential Design / John Burns U.S. Custom Residential Architecture Index

Welcome to a new and valuable gauge of national business conditions and design trends among residential architects. The Residential Design / John Burns U.S. Custom Residential Architecture Index (USCRAI) is a collaboration between this magazine and John Burns Research and Consulting, the leading housing market research firm in the country.

The U.S. Custom Residential Architecture Index is a diffusion index reflecting the weighted responses of custom architecture firms. A rating above 50 indicates industry growth; a rating below 50 indicates slowing activity.

Our latest survey tracking the third quarter of 2023 is at 51 out of 100, indicating that custom residential architecture industry sentiment in 3Q23 is Normal. The 3Q23 survey ran from September 28 to October 20, 2023. Responses, commentary, and sentiment reflect the latest shifts in the custom residential architecture industry.

The 3Q23 results mark a slight drop in demand from previous 2Q23 results, as custom architects report they completed 1.8% fewer projects year over year and saw revenues decline 1.7% in the same period. Additionally, 29% of custom architects report a decrease in demand for second homes, but others note continuing strength at the higher end of the custom residential market, where price sensitivity to rising construction costs is less acute.

This quarter’s survey asked architects what they’re specifying in windows and siding. More than a third of respondents indicated they are designing more and larger window openings in their projects as both they and their clients seek to strengthen connections between indoors and out. Where budget is a special concern, they will specify less expensive windows rather than reduce the overall size and count. A greater number of sliding doors and window walls is likely in future projects, they also observed. Performance and energy efficiency, they reported, will be an increasing concern and priority over the next three years.

Trends in siding are shifting as well, with growing popularity of engineered woods, metals, and fiber cement, albeit with less overt patterning within the material–such as wood grains, knots, textures, and the like.

Mixing exterior materials is increasingly common and our architects see a flourishing market for Modern design over the next three years, while there remains some debate about the future of the ubiquitous Farmhouse style.

To view the full report, click on the following link to John Burns Research:

Stay tuned for our 4th quarter results in early 2024.