If you’ve been running through your home search for a while, you’re probably noticing a common trend among new-home communities: amenities galore.
One important thing to keep in mind when looking for a new home is how you can add value to your investment and that’s exactly what homebuilders aim to do by offering a variety of amenities in their new-home communities — not to mention you get the added benefit of simply being able to use them any time you want.
We sat down with a few new-home experts to discuss the top community amenities on the market today to help you understand what to look for when you begin touring neighborhoods.
Top Community Amenities
According to a study by real estate advising company Robert Charles Lesser & Co., homebuyers are increasingly looking for green space and trail systems for walking, running and biking. So it’s no surprise you may be seeing parks and trails offered at nearly every community you visit.
In fact, green space and trail systems were the No. 1 and No. 2 desirable community features. Robert Charles Lesser and Co.’s full list can be found below:
- Parks and green spaces
- Paved trail systems for walking, jogging, biking, etc.
- Main street village centers with retail services and cafes for gathering and socializing
- Outdoor, resort-style pools
- Exercise rooms and equipment
- Natural (unpaved) trail systems for hiking and walking
Heather McCune, director of marketing for Bassenian Lagoni, an architectural planning and interior design firm in Newport Beach, Calif., referenced this study in her speech about trends in the Best in American Living competition at the 2016 International Builders Show in Las Vegas, Nev.
“Entries into the Best in American Living design competition incorporate many of these trends in innovative ways that can inform developers and builders as they plan future homes and neighborhoods,” McCune said.
Which certainly explains why you’re likely to see many of these features and more while you’re on your home hunt.
Even More Amenities
And if those six amenities mentioned above don’t suit your fancy, there are still even more amenity trends taking over the new-home nation.
“We found that it’s the custom touch to the amenities we offer that really appeals to our buyers,” says Marshall Gobuty, developer of the award-winning Mirabella community in Bradenton, Fla., designed for 55-plus active adults. “A dog park just for the residents’ four-leggers and two pickle ball courts address two recent trends adopted by many master-planned communities, and which are offered at Mirabella in a more personal environment.”
Pet-focused amenities were a topic that also came up in McCune’s presentation at IBS.
“Pets are now family members and, increasingly, for-rent and for-sale communities are responding to homebuyer demands for dedicated spaces to care for the four-legged family members,” she said, adding that dog parks show up in almost every community she sees, in addition to the occasional dog-wash station.
So when choosing the neighborhood that’s right for you, it’s best to keep in mind the lifestyle and activities you’re interested in and look for those in your potential new community. Chances are, a new-home community out there will have something for you, no matter how adventurous you may be.
“We’ve learned that today’s homebuyers will not settle for a community that doesn’t echo their needs and expectations,” says Michael Lindeman, vice president of sales and marketing for Taylor Morrison’s Austin division. “Finding a community that offers the amenities you desire is important and makes the homebuying process worth every penny.”
And at Taylor Morrison’s Heritage at Vizcaya community, for instance, those pennies can get you amenities like craft and game rooms, yoga, Zumba and aerobics studios, bocce, tennis and pickle ball courts and even a porch area for hosting events like concerts and other activities.
“Each homebuyer is wonderfully unique, making it important to cater to both the adventure seekers and those who appreciate the quieter luxuries,” Lindeman adds.
Amenities Add a Sense of Community
One final agreement among all of our experts? In addition to adding a return on investment if you ever tried to sell your home, amenities are there to provide members of the neighborhood an overall sense of community.
“An amenity-rich community obviously helps with resale value,” says Gobuty, “but of equal importance to our buyers: a diverse offering of leisure activities that fosters a stronger sense of community.”
Steve Snoddy, vice president of sales for Phoenix-based AV Homes, agrees.
“We like to create a community, which means we want people to utilize the amenities we build to help bring people together and have an enjoyable living experience when they’re outside of their home,” he says. “It’s not the home, it’s not necessarily the neighborhood; it’s the lifestyle that is offered with that community.”
One way AV Homes helps accomplish this lifestyle is by providing some of its neighborhoods with community directors, whose jobs are to set up various events and activities within and around the community for its residents.
For instance, in AV Homes’ CantaMia community, their director arranges outings to Phoenix Suns games.
“It’s really all about trying to connect people with the neighborhoods,” Snoddy says. “It provides a reward for us, but it also really provides a sense of community for the people living there.”
Drew Knight is a freelance writer for Builders Digital Experience (BDX). He graduated from Texas A&M University in December 2014 with a degree in agricultural communications and journalism.