You know PLI is constantly on the lookout for new data to help home inspectors build their business and plan ahead.
Here’s a data-point from a totally new source:
The bathroom is truly the most intimate space in a home. And it is announcing new found confidence in real estate, like never before.
People remodeling baths now are “thirsting for color and ready to rebel,” industry insiders report recently. Renovating bathrooms with splashes of bright colors – not the old timid taupes and soothing whites – tells them something new is afoot.
A gutsier bath reflects confidence in the strengthening real estate market, says Jamie Chappell, the trend tracker and creative director of Fireclay Tile. In an article Saturday (8/20) The Wall Street Journal agreed.
Sales of existing homes reached a 9-year peak this May, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported and The Wall Street Journal quoted. NAR economists see sales of existing homes heading up even more next year. They think the main lid on sales is a shortage of supply, likely to let up since prices are going up, attracting even more sellers.
Call it the “Bathroom Canary” in the coal mine. Think back. In the heyday of House Beautiful (the oldest U.S. mag in continuous circulation) and Better Homes and Gardens (once the 4th best selling U.S. mag and now part of Realogy Corp), back in the 50s and 60s when real estate was blazing new trails, bathrooms exploded into a Mardis Gras of colors. (And Mad Magazine gave Better Homes the ultimate status symbol OL 66 \f “WP TypographicSymbols” \s 12 a knock-off satire issue, #53, mimicking Better Homes. “The Built A House On A Lot 22 Inches Wide.”) Every home inspector instantly recognizes the classic candy-pink tiles and sinks we still find in those houses today. Lots of their owners kept them just that way ever since that ecstatic time, like they would not let go. And those were good times for home sales.
Don=t expect a re-run of all that pink. This ain’t your Mommas bathroom! Trendy tones got tired overnight. Nobody’s going over the top again – yet.
Detox from that hangover led baths down the path to today’s “neutral” bath with white subway tile, concocted marble, and polished chrome. Industry trend spotters call that whole picture “depersonalized” bathrooms today. Some articles put a fireier finer point on it. Those baths had “a lifeless mismatch of tepid ivory hues,” wrote Meredith Swinehart (how would you like to be saddled with that name?), features editor at the decor site Remodelista.
They say tepid bottomed out in the 2008-9 recession, with risk-averse consumers seeking safety in bland, colorless bathrooms.
Since 2014, they add, it’s a different story. Tile makers have added nearly 200 new hues to ceramic tile lines to meet the new demand. People are experimenting with new materials, like UonUon porcelain tiles (from 14OraItaliana).
Those 50s-60s live wire styles haven’t fallen off the fae of the Earth either. Classics, like the one hole faucet by mid-century master designer Arne Jacobsen (the guy who did the egg and swan chairs) are making a comeback, in vivid living color. Watch out.
Designers talk about baths that “brighten the mornings” of people gearing up for work. Unemployment is way low today, compared to recession peaks. The more people working, the more homes selling.
“Movin= on up!OL 64 \f “WP TypographicSymbols” \s 12