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Top Ten Trends Live from the 2014 International Building Show

Wondering what is coming to the real estate industry in 2014? Skip the snow and join me in Vegas for the annual International Builder’s Show – the building industry’s biggest event of the year.

Top Ten Trends Live from the 2014 International Building Show

From Commercial to Residential, tools to products, services and software – if you can dream it, you’ll find it. Over 75,000 people are estimated to be walking the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center this week. Can’t make the flight (I hear it may have something to do with the weather back home)? Here are the top ten trends of IBS 2014:

Active Lifestyle

As the boomers age, we have seen more and more age-related products come to the market. It is estimated that baby boomers will retire at the pace of 10,000-per-day for the next nineteen years. While this style of real estate is 30% real estate and 70% services, builders are looking for ways to incorporate a wide array of options for active adults who wish to “age in place”.

Here some highlights from the show floor:

  1. Forget aftermarket lifts, manufactures are demonstrating elevators and lifts for customers wishing to age-in-place. These products are brilliantly designed, compact and can be considered for both new home builds and renovations.
  2. Need medical devices such as rails, slings, and bathing products but don’t wish them to be a focal point in your home? New product designs cleverly integrate into a home’s architectural features and decor so you don’t even notice they are there.
  3. From the development perspective, planning the right product and amenities in an active lifestyle community remains a challenge. From duplexes, single-family to staked flats, all agree that the key is geographic dependent and thoroughly researching the local market.

Custom Building & Design

The art of the home goes beyond great architectural design. The interior of the home is reflects the personality of the owners and their lifestyle. IBS surely didn’t disappoint with color trends and new products. Here are some highlights from the show floor:

  1. Color of the Year
    The Pantone Color of the Year may be Radiant Orchid (it’s a pink, purple hue), but Benjamin Moore selected Breath of Fresh Air, a light blue tone, as its Color of the Year 2014 because it sensed a shift to lighter colors, and away from gray, which has been an extremely popular color for home interiors for the past several years. Breath of Fresh Air is just one of the many pastels the company is touting in its Color Trends 2014 campaign. It has dubbed these pastels new neutrals.
  2. It’s Back to Black
    Gray and “greige” will remain popular, but black is the new color favorite for 2014. In a Houzz poll, 74 percent of homeowners admitted to being a fan of black rooms, from bathrooms and kitchens (with crisp white fixtures) to interior doors and exterior siding. We’re seeing this bleed into other products such as siding and trim for the outside of their house as a way to modernize an older home.
  3. Smaller Smarter Home
    Previously, “smart home” options were limited to a single system that ran the whole house, but today homeowners use their smartphones to control a variety of independent systems throughout the home. From lighting to locks to appliances, smaller systems are easier to upgrade and replace.
  4. Low maintenance lawns
    Maryland would love this trend – native ground cover plants and more creatively landscaped green spaces, even including synthetic lawns, are becoming popular options as people opt out of traditional, water-dependent expanses of grass.
  5. Woodgrain
    Not your mom’s woodgrain panels – wood is extremely popular on the show floor as people skip the paint and opt for natural beauty. In fact, butcher block was the third most popular choice for counters, and hardwood was most popular flooring in the Houzz Kitchen Remodeling Survey. Expect more live-edge wood (i.e., carpentry with natural edges) in 2014 for both furniture and countertops.


Green, LEED certified, net-zero – you have heard all the terms. These products seem to only get better – both in quality and cost. The on-going buzz around this topic is not only how to keep up with the ever changing standards but also how to make them affordable for consumers in both residential and commercial settings. Here are the highlights from the show floor:

  1. I can’t believe its not ________
    Plastic, synthetic, engineered. Whatever you call it, engineered products continue to get better and better. From siding and stone to windows, trim, doors, gutters and accessories these products will have you looking twice. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they are energy efficient too.
  2. Solar
    Love solar, but don’t love the look of the panels? We got a peak at some of the newest environmental building integrated roof technologies including solar electric, solar thermal and rainwater harvesting systems. New systems mimic the looks of a shingled or standing seam metal roof.  These great looking installations look like conventional roofs and the LEED credits are the icing on the cake.


Multi-family has been hot and it looks like this living style is here for the long-haul. Old challenges such as moisture and noise control were discussed, but the discussion about escalating construction costs and financing took center stage this year. HUD Mortgage insurance programs including new underwriting practices and upcoming plans for HUD office restructuring were discussed.

Sales & Marketing

These concepts may not be new, but they certainly struck-up lively conversation. Topics centered on lead-conversion tactics in a digital age, blogging, twitter, design centers and copyright infringement.

Interested in how these 2014 IBS trends affect the commercial real estate market in the Frederick, Maryland area? Contact our good friends at MacRo!

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About the Author: Christina May, Real Estate Marketing Consultant and Managing Partner at Illumine8 Marketing and PR firm based in Frederick, Maryland. Recent GALA award winner for best Sales Center Design and Chair of the Brunswick Economic Development Commission. 

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