According to the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey  for the third quarter of 2009, consumer interest is up in homes in urban centers with greater access to transportation, retail and downtown workplaces.
This interest in downtown living is largely driven by the increase in home energy and transportation costs in recent years, which has consumers rethinking their living options to save money, especially transportation costs.
The survey, which polled 500 architecture firms that specialize in residential design, also revealed:
• The national billings index for the third quarter of 2009 remained unchanged at 38 (any score below 50 indicates a decline in activity)
• Inquiries for new projects stayed steady for the second consecutive quarter
• The number of kitchen and bath remodels jumped by about 15 percent over 2008 figures
• Interest in durable, low-maintenance home exteriors increased 2 percent compared to 2008 figures
• Custom/luxury home market dropped 18 percent compared to 2008