New data shows a significant increase in online house plan purchasing and interest in new home construction, according to The Plan Collection, the pioneer of online home design plans. With the declining supply of new homes for sale in the residential real estate market and the current bidding wars happening across the country, many are opting to build their dream homes.  Most often when building new, the home is constructed in suburban and rural areas.

Bank of America just released a study this week that supports the increases as it reveals that half (48%) of those surveyed want to buy in the suburbs and 29% want to buy in rural areas. This is an increase from last summer, when 18% indicated a desire to purchase a home in a rural area.

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The Plan Collection offers more than 22,000 affordable house plans for purchase online and the data is based on sales and online searches in Q1 2020 (pre-pandemic) compared to Q1 2021 (post-pandemic).

OVERALL: There was a 27% increase in interest across almost every house style.

VACATION HOMES: There was significant growth among vacation home searches with an increase of more than 40% and include beach, lake houses and mountain homes.

• The market for a second home is strong since low interest rates make a second mortgage payment on a vacation home more manageable.

• For those living in an urban environment for the past year, a vacation home provides an alternate dwelling with more open space.

TOP SALES BY ARCHITECTURAL HOME STYLES: Here are the top house plan sales by architectural home styles in 2021 (ranked in order):

Ranch – Typically in the top five styles, the Ranch design is coming out top in 2021. As families look to move to suburban and rural areas, the Ranch is a natural fit in environments with more space. Ranch design is also on trend with other desirable elements in today’s real estate market, including high or vaulted ceilings and multi-generational living.  Interest in this style increased approximately 40%.



Contemporary – The Contemporary home style wasn’t even in the top 10 sales in 2020.  Online searches increased more than 30% in 2021.  We can attribute this to the fact that after spending so much time in their dwellings in 2020, families have come to prefer less clutter, fewer architectural details and a clean, more modern look.

Farmhouse – Interest in the Farmhouse architectural style is up more than 70%.  The increase is driven by strong interest in the “Modern Farmhouse” look.

Craftsman – The Craftsman’s sales ranked third in 2020 showing a large decline in the home style’s popularity.  After a decade at the top, the Craftsman style is losing favor. Growth in the first quarter was between 10‐15% — well below the average for other top styles.

“With the shortage of existing homes for sale we aren’t surprised in the interest in building a new dream home,” says Home Building Expert Tim Bakke, director of publishing at The Plan Collection.  “The advantages of a new build include all-new everything, no competitive bidding, choice of location and style, energy efficiency and fewer repairs and maintenance costs which is appealing to many homebuyers in this challenging residential real estate market.”

Here is another key finding from the new data:

BUNGALOW – The Bungalow home style fared relatively poorly at less than 10% growth. This is due to their general appeal in denser, more urban settings which many are leaving due to the pandemic.

The data is based on The Plan Collection’s house plan sales and searches in Q1 2020 (pre-pandemic) compared to Q1 2021(post-pandemic).  Since 2020 more than 4.5 million visited to research home plans for purchase.  Overall, The Plan Collection is registering strong traffic that continues to increase since the lockdown began across the country.