Over 40% of the remodeling projects are eliminating the bathtub in the master bathroom.

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

What’s trending in bathroom remodels? Houzz recently released its 2014 Winter Bathroom Trends Study showing the top bathroom remodel preferences of more than 7,500 home owners in the U.S. and Canada. The report shows that 60 percent of home owners are targeting the master bathroom for their bathroom remodels. The two main drivers for their remodels: To upgrade features and fixtures as well as to make space more functional.

Here are some of the growing trends that emerged from the Houzz report:

#1 Goodbye, bathtubs. The bathtub is starting to move out of the master bathroom. More than four in 10 – 43 percent – are forgoing a bathtub in the master bathroom, according to the report.


#2 Frameless glass is “in.” The majority of the home owners surveyed say they prefer glass shower enclosures and frameless glass. Glass block is “out,” according to the report.

#3 Let there be lots of light. Adding light was one of the top goal for home owners with their bathroom remodels, from adding windows to skylights to LED lights in the showerhead.

#4 Showing showerhead preferences. Rain and multiple showerheads are the clear choice for home owners under 45, while the 55-plus age group tends to prefer hand showers and sliding bars.

#5 Seeing white. White cabinets are the top choice in master bathrooms (with medium and dark wood coming in No. 2 and No. 3, respectively). Maple is the most common type of wood used, followed by cherry and oak.

#6 Silver bling. Silver-tone faucets remain the most popular, with brushed nickel topping the list. Polished chrome is also popular, while brushed bronze came in as the least popular choice for current bathroom remodels.

#7 Unique powder rooms. The powder room is getting more unique features than other bathrooms. Hardwood floors, wallpaper, pedestal sinks, and furniture-like cabinets are more commonly used in these spaces than in other bathrooms.

The days of 3.5% 30-year fixed mortgages are over….

Home sales will rebound: After a brief lull in the fall of 2013, I predict that sales activity will return to the market with more home buyers. The steep jump in home prices has brought thousands of homeowners above water on their mortgages, enabling them to sell and move. Negative equity has been one of the biggest barriers to home sales since the housing crash. Come spring, there will most likely be more sellers, more homes on the market and therefore more transactions.

Home price gains should ease: Prices will still rise, no question, but probably not as steeply as they did in 2013. Annual gains of more than 12 percent were driven in large part by investors on the low end of the market. As foreclosures ebb and fewer distressed sales are in the mix, prices will moderate. Still low inventories, however, will keep them in the positive.

(More predictions: Energy prices hit a 4-year low for 2014)

Rents will rise: Despite the return of home sales, renter nation should continue throughout 2014, as younger Americans and first time home buyers are still left out of the recovery. Saddled with student debt and unable to come up with the large down payments required from today’s mortgage lenders, this cohort will probably continue to fuel both the multifamily apartment market and the single-family rental trade.