This is my favorite time of the year when I get to slow down, disconnect from my email and phone, and truly shut down a bit. It is also that time of year when we take a moment to reflect and appreciate all that has happened as we move on to the new year. 2016 has been a big year with notable changes that we as an industry and society are reflecting upon. Let me share with you my list of top developments for 2016.
Year of the Robots – 2016 was the first year that technology-driven, automated bricklaying and 3D printed house construction became realities. This year several companies achieved notable successes in demonstrating the viability of this technology to build homes. With the construction labor shortage transitioning from an acute problem to a chronic threat to housing growth, building automation is a welcomed advancement that is sure to change the way homes are built for many decades to come.
The Millennial Arrived – 2016 saw the millennial buyer cross over the 50% mark of consumers shopping for a home in the U.S. The demographers were clamoring how the millennial was coming and 2016 was the year they arrived, helping to catapult the housing market out of the recession lows and into what looks to be even greater highs in years to come. Simply put, we do not have enough houses to satisfy the market, and the millennial impact is causing all builders to adjust to their tastes and buying preferences.
Sustainable Energy Acceleration – 2016 reinforced the movement toward mainstream sustainable energy with the release of both the Power Wall and Integrated Solar Panels by Tesla and its subsidiary Solar City. This development, along with continued market data suggesting increased buyer interest in sustainable energy solutions, makes 2016 a pivotal year for housing’s ability to help contribute to more efficient energy usage, making each home its own mini sustainable power plant and reducing reliance on large scale utilities using traditional forms of energy.
Year of Authenticity – 2016 saw the emergence of authenticity as a primary attribute valued by consumers. From the most popular TV shows, businesses that thrived (i.e. Uber), and even the presidential election, 2016 was no doubt the year the world realized that Authenticity is highly valued. To paraphrase author Joseph Pine, Authenticity is now more important than Quality, more than Cost, more than Availability. We have all witnessed this transition in housing as well, with over 81% of home buyers stating they consider customer reviews an important source of buying information when researching a home builder. Changes at the FTC and the passage of the Consumer Review Freedom Act further reinforce the importance of genuine customer reviews as a powerful source of buying information. More builders are realizing this point and signing on with Avid to publish authentic and FTC compliant customer reviews for their companies. We are expecting continued growth in that need in 2017 and beyond.
Lastly, be sure to focus on the most important development of the year – our loved ones. Take time with your families to relax and enjoy.
All of us at Avid Ratings wish you and yours a peaceful and joyous holiday.