As 2011 comes to a close, HousingZone editors highlight the top housing news and trends for the year. Here are the top 11 HousingZone stories for 2011, based on web traffic.
Dark natural finishes, induction cooktops, satin nickel faucets, and LED lighting are among the top design trends for kitchens and bathrooms, according to a survey of kitchen and bath designers. Read the story. 
24/7 Wall St. examined the number of building permits to find the states where no one wants to buy a new home. It looked at the total number of building permits issued by each state for the first half of the year. It then identified the states that had the lowest percentage of new housing permits as compared to the total number of housing units. Read the story. 
Wondering about the hot paint colors for this year? Wonder no more: The 2012 paint palette will draw heavily upon the natural colors in the American landscape, according to Debbie Zimmer, color expert at the Paint Quality Institute. Read the story. 
There's been a lot of positive signs for a housing (and broader economic recovery) coming out lately. Here are nine reasons we might be looking at a better 2012 than 2011 in the residential construction market. Read the story. 
They may be scaling down in other areas, but custom-home clients aren’t skimping on bathroom amenities. Many master baths resemble sumptuous, spa-like retreats. Here are six trends in bathroom design. Read the story. 
Not satisfied with the appraised value of your new homes? Follow these practical steps for avoiding the dreaded low appraisal. Read the story. 
The latest data from Fiserv Case Shiller shows that national home prices are expected to grow at an annualized rate of 3.2 percent between 2011 and the second quarter of 2016. Read the story. 
With housing values set to appreciate 5.6 percent in 2012, Bismarck, N.D., is expected to be the strongest market in the country in the year ahead, according to a recent report by risk management and valuation services firm Veros. Read the story. 
Builders and industry experts share their best ideas for growing revenue and increasing profits in the new year. Read the story. 
The editors of Professional Builder and Professional Remodeler magazines names their top building products for 2011. Read the story. 
Homeowners almost always want an island when the time comes to remodel their kitchens, but a poorly designed or ill-planned island can cause more problems than it solves. Read the story.