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Housebuyers shun architectdesigns as too different

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Estate agents and housebuilders refuse to use the term 'architect-designed' in sales literature because buyers see it negatively, says an architect in a report launched this week.

Robert Adam said that many homebuyers mistrust design and homes that stand out as different. He helped to interview 800 people for a report on home preferences, which found that buyers still go for gables, bay windows and pitched roofs. They do not like futuristic designs but hanker for a villagey atmosphere with green spaces. This flies in the face of government brownfield initiatives.

'Fitting in is a stylistic issue,' said Adam, a member of the Popular Housing Forum of builders and professionals, dedicated to improving house design. 'People don't like things that stand out; they do not want their homes to be different. Some see architect design as being special and different and therefore not desirable.'

He added: 'A big housebuilder told me, 'If I inherit an architect with a site, I sacrifice a minimum of 10 per cent of land volume because an architect works to an agenda which is not commercial.''

However, the report was not all negative, he said. A quarter of people feel that new houses should not imitate old houses.

Kerb Appeal, he External Appearance and Site Layout of New Houses, £20 plus £2 p+p, Popular Housing Forum, tel: 01962 843843.

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