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Best Selling Plans of 2015

Best Selling Plans of 2015
This best seller illustrates several consumer trends: Craftsman
Statisticians would argue that you can’t correlate data from sales of best-selling house plans with trends in the larger marketplace for new-homes sales. House-plan buyers are looking for a bargain compared to hiring an architect to design their home. They trade some home features for a good price.

Nevertheless, an analysis of best-selling home plans at reveals some of the same trends evident in the new-home market. The analysis also discloses a lot about what people are looking for in a house plan, information that can be quite useful for a builder who wants to buy a plan and build a house on spec.

The first thing that strikes you about this year’s best sellers – plans that have sold more than 20 times each – is how many sport Craftsman details. Rafter tails, bump outs, lap siding, and other details characterize several best sellers. If the exteriors nod to the past, however, the floor plans tend to be distinctly modern. Virtually all of them center on a family/grand room with an integrated kitchen, typically oriented to face rear patio doors and windows, as shown below in Plan 120-187. Formal dining rooms only creep into the larger plans.

As you might expect, given that many of these homes will be built in rural or exurban locations, the plans are long on exterior spaces – front porches, back porches, side porches, and even gazebos. Some plans do a better job than others integrating indoor and outdoor spaces, and providing outdoor privacy.

Whether buying a new home or a house plan, today’s consumers seem really focused on value, a perspective that often translates into making sure they get practical spaces that work well for everyday life. That means having mudrooms that are big enough to hold several backpacks, winter coats, and work boots; laundry rooms that leave enough space for folding and storing clothes and maybe even feeding a pet; and kitchen islands that are comfortable to eat at and provide bonus storage for cookbooks and appliances as in Plan 17-1017, below.

The good news is that most of the best-selling plans wouldn’t be too complicated to build. Most are designed with simple rectangular forms. Roof dormers are kept to a minimum, even on the bigger houses. One benefit of this restraint is that the details that are used really pop. Most of the best sellers are single-story plans. That’s always been the case with house plan sales, which skew to Sunbelt markets where ranch plans are more common and land is often less expensive. But the trend is growing even in Northern markets, where builders are doing more wide and shallow homes to make room for first-floor master bedrooms for aging baby boomers who’d rather avoid stairs. In keeping with trends of the last decade, most plans feature vaulted space in the family room to provide a great room feeling. Second stories, when they are used, tend to be lofts.

The best sellers exhibit a surprising variety of garage configurations – everything from side-loads, to turn-ins, to angled garages (Plan 430-99, below). Placed side by side, they would form a pretty interesting streetscape.

It’s pretty common for garages to provide either second-story storage or living space. This became a popular feature of best-selling home plans a decade ago and hasn’t waned. Thinking ahead for how families might grow into bonus space – by providing links to the main house or garage -- provides a great value in a house plan.

The plans also seem relatively modest in size, compared to some lists of best-selling home plans that emphasize the big and gaudy. Many of these best-selling plans – maybe slightly more than in previous years -- could work in subdivision settings, as opposed to strictly rural ones. 

Best Selling Plans of 2015 Inspiration

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