7 Property Types To Watch For In 2016

Trending home styles

Which types of properties are trending now, expected to be trending in the near future?

Pre-Fab Construction

Pre-fabricated homes and condos have been growing in popularity, and are now on the fringe of luxury real estate sites in Manhattan. They are not only more affordable and efficient to build, but new real estate startups hope they will offer easy “scalability” of greener buildings. The big question here is how they will fare when it comes to value and appreciation. Will they suffer the challenges of mobile homes, or can they keep up with brick and mortar construction? This may not matter in terms of cash flow for passive income seeking investors in the short term, but it is a factor to watch.

Net Zero & Off The Grid Homes

Not only do utilities represent a significant portion of monthly housing payments, but traditional utility services and connections also represent a substantial cost barrier to building new homes. Conquering this level of self-sustainability will not only be better for the environment and enable individuals to have more freedom in where they live, but they will absolutely bring us one step closer to being able to achieve free and clear home ownership.These homes include features like solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems. Some may ultimately go as far as sustainable gardens and hydroponics. Either way, look for these homes to grow in popularity.

Alternative Construction

So far, really progressive building experiments in America have appeared almost exclusively in California. Straw bale houses, and dome homes are not uncommon in CA. Yet, shipping container architecture and even luxury earth homes are making more appearances in the national media and luxury real estate blogs. They have many advantages, from an environmentally friendly perspective to affordability. Still, there are many challenges facing Americans who hope to engage in alternative construction. There are building codes and inspections, and then there is the financing. At least one shipping container home has been given the green light, according to building codes. Yet, financing with conventional mortgages could be a struggle. New crowdfunding platforms could help negate this. It is also worth noting that it has been possible to get title, insurance, and mortgages on Spanish Cave Homes for years. International banks and mortgage brokers could, as a result, become another power player in transforming the lending industry.


Ranches are making a comeback, according to the media. Yet, with prices high and fragile in places like N.Y. and D.C., having an expansive ranch estate in the country for the weekends can be a breath of fresh air, and possibly a more appealing investment. With a ranch, you own the land, can enjoy entertaining clients and hosting corporate retreats, as well as building memories in a multi-generational family retreat. Even for middle income earners, moving out to ranch estates can provide way more property for the money, with fewer building restrictions.


As the economy improves, second homes and vacation home sales traditionally pick up. Luxury cabins are one of the staples that do well at these times. Mountain cabins, cabins in small golfing communities, and fishing cabins can all be great choices as getaways, and often as high priced rentals.

Trophy Homes

New York, in particular, is seeing a rise in trophy home prices. New listings are touting the magical $100M price tag in order to gain attention, and offer buyers the prestige that comes with dropping a lot of money on prime real estate. Some may be considerably over priced. In one case, a waterfront estate purchased for only around $15M a couple years ago was put back on the market with a $100M asking price in 2015. In other news headlines, one hedge fund manager purchased the home of his ex-boss only to flatten it and build a bigger statement home over it. Not all of these properties may be worth the asking price as an investment, but it is worth noting the marketing trend.

Smart Homes

Smart homes have already become mainstream, at least in the case of high-end properties and new construction. Consumers expect properties to be wired and tech savvy. Those that aren’t may soon be considered obsolete. Landlords should also find that smarter homes can bring many advantages for property management and operational efficiency and profit.