January’s 3 hot topics for home improvement brands

We gaze deeply into 2024 to find hardened houses, nosy robots, and eerie offices. Oh my.
by The Drill Down Team on January 30, 2024

Chef's kitchens and spa-like bathrooms used to sell homes. Not anymore

"The features that sell a home in 2024 will be related to accessibility and how 'weather-proof' the home is," shares Jon Bostock, a former GE executive and current CEO of Leaf Home

"Aging baby boomers want homes with low-maintenance outdoor spaces, accessible first-floor main bedrooms, and safety features like outdoor handrails.

"Other homebuyers are looking for 'home hardening' features that protect the home from the growing threat of extreme weather like wildfires, hurricanes, and floods." More here: (Source)

The S/M Take: 

The Drill Down never expected to see “hardened houses'' on our must-have list, but these are the times we live in. That said, the pragmatist in us recognizes a marketing angle when we see it: In coastal and wildfire-prone areas, these building features can both attract buyers and reassure skittish insurers. 

But before the boom comes the dip: In its 2024 Kitchen and Bath Market Outlook Report, the NKBA reports that homeowners are eager to remodel, but many are putting off major projects until an anticipated decrease in borrowing rates.

Gaming, AI and wellness to drive smart-home innovation over the coming year

If it feels like your smart devices know you better than you know yourself, get used to it.

In 2024, technologies like predictive artificial intelligence and biometric data management will continue transforming the role smart machines play in our lives — anticipating needs, customizing experiences and foreseeing troubles. Think of a diagnostic toilet seat or self-maintaining appliances that can schedule their own repairs.

An aging population is also spurring ingenuity in smart tech, with home devices aimed at bolstering independence for older people — from chat bots that might alleviate loneliness to robots that can fetch items from hard-to-reach places. More here: (Source)

The S/M Take: 

We see a rising bifurcation in smart homes. There’s a segment keen to go deep, submitting themselves and their homes to AI and highly evolved devices – including one big device that goes in your garage: You'll soon be able to control your connected Kia or Hyundai from your smart home – and your smart home from your car.

Then, there is everyone else: The reported 80% of Americans who want a smart home that won’t outsmart them. At CES, Home Depot is showing an answer – its own, simplified smart home ecosystem.

Stanford economist: ‘Return to the office is dead’ … Will offices be converted to housing?

The great post-pandemic Return To Office (RTO) is a polarizing issue in the U.S. labor market.

While many companies want their workers to return to the office for at least a few days a week, the reality is that Americans like Working From Home (WFH) and the flexibility it provides.

Per Stanford economics professor Nick Bloom and his team, “WFH levels have become ‘flat as a pancake.’ Return to the office is dead.”

Here’s why this employment trend is having an eerie impact on commercial real estate across the country. More here: (Source)

The S/M Take: 

There’s plenty of conversation about WFH and its impact on commercial real estate. But The Drill Down, being the wide-eyed optimists we are, would like to talk opportunity. What IF the CTR (Convert to Residential) movement among these ghost buildings gains momentum? What ARE the opportunities for construction brands and real estate marketers? Let’s get smart about these CTR buyers, learn what motivates them to become part of this novel shift, and become part of solving the housing shortage while reviving ghost buildings. Win-win, friends. Win-win.

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