The online landscape for commercial real estate is changing quickly and real estate web design has become a category by itself.

We are seeing CRE companies investing more in their online presence now than ever before. Consequently, the need for beautiful, functional websites has resulted in a growing emergence of well-designed CRE websites.

What can we expect to see in 2016?

Below are some of the emerging trends in real estate web design we expect to see for company websites, property websites and blogs.

1. Huge Hero Images

Full-width hero images that stretch the entire width of a browser have quickly replaced image sliders, and they are here to stay in 2016. Nothing grabs your client’s attention faster and more effectively than a beautiful property photo, building rendering or skyline that fills your screen.

Thanks to better data compression and faster bandwidth, large high definition (HD) images can be used without affecting the loading time of pages. Some sites are even going one step further and embedding videos instead of state hero image.

hero image property website

2. More Scrolling, Less Clicking

A few year ago, a cardinal rule was established in the web design community that all important content must be at the top of the page, “above the fold”. The concept of “above the fold” has drastically changed with the proliferation of mobile devices.

Users have become accustomed to mobile experiences that utilize long strolling of pages (which is a lot easier than clicking) to get to content. This same behavior has transcended to the desktop resulting in websites with long pages of content that result in more scrolling, less clicking.

long scroll website

3. Strong Typography

Typefaces on websites are increasingly getting bigger, bolder and more interesting. Not only to capture a user’s attention with large headings and titles, but also to improve readability for paragraph text throughout the pages.

Also, web-based font libraries (like Google fonts) continue to grow and provide designers with an arsenal of beautiful and interesting fonts to work with.

strong typography

4. Beautiful HD Property Images

In 2016, there is no excuse not to have beautiful HD images for your properties. Access to high quality HD photography is cheaper and easier than it ever has been and has massive impact on the overall aesthetic of a real estate website.

Not to mention the impact it has on helping engage your clients and increase sales.

Given the increasing use of full-width visual layouts, we expect to see more high quality property images incorporated into CRE websites.

HD real estate photo gallery

5. Flat Design

The dominating design aesthetic of 2015 was flat design and you should expect see a lot more of this to continue in 2016 across all industries.

Graphical elements like buttons, icons and logos no longer using strong gradients or shadows. “Shiny” objects have become a thing of the past.

flat design

6. Sites Become Alive

One of the more exciting evolutions of web design is the creative use of interactive animations thanks to the combinations of CSS3, HTML5 and jQuery.

Although Flash is dead, websites are coming to life again with animated graphics and interactive elements especially on navigation menus, scrolls, hovers, loading, and backgrounds.

Site animation

7. Less Clutter

Websites are becoming more content focused and excess “clutter” is disappearing. Footers are getting reduced to bare essentials and sidebars are getting trimmed down in content (or removed altogether).

Minimalism is the driving aesthetic and elements on web pages will be reduced to create uncluttered interfaces that “breathe” better.

Less clutter screenshot

8. Card Layouts

Thanks to Pinterest, the use of card-based design has grown in popularity giving designers a new way to organize content within a more visually engaging layout.

Also, card designs are very efficient and adaptable to work across different platforms and screen sizes.

For users, cards are easy to scan and digest and we expect to see more real estate websites make use of this trend for property results, floor plans, photo galleries and more.

Card layout design