What Future Residents Want from Tomorrow’s Communities

Tyler Lake

Aerial view of the improved lake area at St. Bourke’s Tyler, Home on the Lake, development.

Lake Trail

Trail around the updated lake area at St. Bourke’s Georgian Acres community.

Georgia Lake

Aerial view of the lake area at St. Bourke’s Georgian Acres community.


Pickleball became a large focus for Kolter Homes’ Cresswind Georgia at Twin Lakes community.

Community Garden

A snapshot of the community garden at Cresswind Georgia at Twin Lakes.


Cresswind Georgia at Twin Lakes residents enjoy yoga by the lake.

Design trends have continually adapted to meet prevailing interests, whether it’s incorporating the latest technology or shifting the look and feel to attract a new generation of residents. The market has shifted more drastically in recent years, in large part because of the Covid pandemic, and developers are finding new and creative ways to address the new market demands.

One of the best ways to make sure the community fits consumer interests is to solicit feedback.

“Survey and consumer feedback has always been an essential part of developing and evolving Cresswind lifestyle programming,” shared Jennifer Landers, community director for Kolter Homes, which designed the Cresswind Georgia at Twin Lakes development.

Developers and marketers have noted three key categories that resonate with the current market:

  • Flexibility
  • Connection with nature
  • Sustainability

“Developers and home builders are working to make better connections with nature both in terms of amenities and within the homes themselves,” observed Carol Morgan, president of Denim Marketing. For developments, the standards include wide sidewalks, walking trails, dog parks, fire pits and connectivity with any trails in the area.

“For home design, builders are including lots of connectivity to the outdoors with patios, porches, decks, etc.,” she added. “Many of these are covered to provide year-round protection from the sun and rain.”

Other examples include:

  • Multifunctional spaces that can be used for a variety of resident of activities
  • Community gathering spaces, complete with fire pits and outdoor seating
  • Community gardens
  • Pet-washing stations — for the community or also within the home
  • Solar panels installed for the home
  • Outdoor fitness centers
  • Water activities that extend beyond the basic pool/clubhouse setup, such as boating or splash pads
  • Equestrian trails

Making sure such designs and amenities are affordable is also important.

“With affordability taking a nosedive in nearly every major metro across the country, stretching the development dollar is extremely important,” said Katie Fidler, director of research and communications for St. Bourke in Atlanta. “From the very start we are looking for ways to value engineer our community designs, because minimizing development costs of the project will ultimately result in more affordable homes and ongoing home owner costs. This includes working with the project’s topography instead of against it by minimizing wetland impacts, avoiding stream crossings, and designing roads networks along the site’s natural contours.”

At its Tyler, Home on the Lake, development in North Carolina — along with builder partner D.R. Horton — St. Bourke converted the project’s interior 60-acre lake, which had been treated as more of a decorative feature, into a unique, useable amenity.

“We installed paved sidewalks around the lake’s perimeter, worked with local experts to improve water quality and clarity, stocked the lake with fish, and constructed a fishing dock and kayak launch to allow residents to take full advantage of this incredibly unique community feature,” Fidler noted. “The dock is now so popular amongst the residents that we actually had a small community wedding take place there last summer.”

Cresswind Georgia at Twin Lakes was also able to make tweaks to its programming based on consumer feedback.

“Our Club Cresswind facilities across the southeast has focused on emphasizing pickleball and creating indoor and outdoor spaces that are multifunctional,” Landers shared, adding that pickleball has become a staple amenity at a number of its communities. “New outdoor event plazas with food truck stations is just one example of this new design approach.”

Such amenities are a great selling point for these communities as well, as sales and marketing teams can tap into the increased drive toward health and wellness.

“Amenities are a great focus for marketing campaigns as they portray the lifestyle of the community,” Morgan stated. “We focus on amenities and lifestyle by creating a series of graphics and storyboards for social media and blogs. It is important to tell the story and help potential buyers see how the community will live.”

Fidler projects they will continue to be a key selling point moving forward as the market recalibrates following recent periods of high demand.

“Supply is rebounding, and potential home buyers will soon be back to having multiple options to choose from,” she stated. “This is when factors like community layout and design, amenities and location will come back into play and influence home buying decisions.”

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