Builders at this year's Parade of Homes say the message from their clients has been clear: Bigger is not always better.
Tim Shear, vice president of Dublin-based Coppertree Homes, said the young professionals his firm is building for want "less square footage and better usage" in their houses.
"They're not so interested in square footage; they're interested in how that square footage is being used to serve them and the people they love," he said.
Shear said the market is trending away from big dining rooms and bathtubs and lots of vertical space. Instead, he said, home buyers want flexible, practical spaces such as open-concept dining halls and pub rooms.
"These young couples today, they don't want to put money where they're not using it," he said. "It's really that simple."
Coppertree and 11 other local builders will display the latest trends in luxury homes at the 62nd Building Industry Association of Central Ohio's Parade of Homes, which runs July 19 to Aug. 3. The annual event will be held this year at the Trail's End subdivision in Liberty Township, located just southwest of the intersection of state Route 315 and Home Road in southwest Delaware County.
Patty Halper, assistant executive director of the Building Industry Association, said a BIA committee selects the site each year after a great deal of consideration.
"They look at the lots, they look at the school system," she said. "There's a ton of factors."
Halper said one of the factors that convinced the committee to select Trail's End is the rural charm of the subdivision, which sits on former farmland. As they enter, visitors will travel up a ridge, which many of the builders have taken advantage of by offering an array of decks, walkout basements and other outdoor amenities.
Trail's End sits on 216 acres overlooking the Olentangy River and will feature 148 homes when complete.
Lee Solomonides, sales and marketing manager of Galena-based builder 3 Pillar Homes, said the geography of the site gives the firm's 5,832-square-foot home a little something special.
"When you're upstairs in the (master bedroom), you feel like you're on top of the world," she said.
Solomonides said the five-bedroom home is farmhouse-inspired and features rustic touches designed by Ohio artisans. The 3 Pillar home is the 2014 Parade of Homes Foundation Home, meaning the proceeds from its sale will benefit Habitat for Humanity and other charities.
Shear said Coppertree's 6,020-square-foot house also mixes luxury with rural accents, including reclaimed barn woods on the walls in the site's pub room.
"This is a farmhouse, but it ain't your grandma's farmhouse," Shear said.
Along with large dining rooms, Shear said second-floor guest rooms are on their way out. Coppertree's home features a first-floor "guest retreat" that can be used as an activity room or game room when no one is visiting.
Halper said one of the trends the BIA is seeing this year is homes built for multigenerational living. She said that often means first-floor bedrooms that can be occupied by grandparents or basement bedrooms that college graduates can return to.
Shear said he's also seeing basements becoming spaces for children, as opposed to "man caves," and owners wanting wider staircases so they don't "feel like (they're) going down a tunnel."
The homes in the Parade are priced in the $600,000 to $1.1 million range. Four of the houses already have been sold.
Halper said the home prices are a sign of a "rebounding housing market," noting the price range had been lower in recent years.
She said homes in the Parade can be a bargain for buyers because many of the accents and amenities the builders use to show off their houses are not added to the list price.
"You're getting the best of everything in your home," she said.
Guests who are not in the market to buy can visit the Parade for home-improvement ideas, Halper said.
"It's much better than a TV show because you can touch it, feel it, talk about it to someone," she said.
Tickets to the event are $15; children 12 and younger are admitted free.
Although the Parade is a showcase for the latest and greatest in homebuilding, Shear said it's important to remember that building homes does not need to be complicated.
"You ask people what they want, you tell them what you're going to do and then you do what you tell them you're going to do," he said.
For more information about the 2014 Parade of Homes, including event schedules, visit biaparade.com.