New home designs in Tampa Bay area feature cool pet-friendly perks

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Spending on pet services is expected to see the largest growth for any other spending segment in the pet industry in 2017. That’s according to numbers from the American Pet Products Association, which found pet-industry spending in 2016 came in at a record high $66.75 billion, up from $60.28 billion in 2015, or a 10.7 percent growth. Spending on pet services is expected to grow by six percent in 2017.

For a lot of families, pet services includes outfitting our homes to make them more fur-baby friendly. And, more new-home builders are recognizing the increasing demand for designs that take our 4-legged family members into consideration.

ICI Homes, currently selling at several communities in the Tampa Bay area, offers new-home models with options that include special spaces for dogs and cats, including an available ‘pet condo’ built under a staircase, and a ‘dog bath’ in the laundry room.

Sales Assistant Sabrina Bosarge, who oversees the model home at FishHawk Ranch in Lithia, says buyers are pleasantly surprised when they realize that animal-friendly additions can be added to fit their needs.

“We can customize the bath for big dogs and little dogs,” says Bosarge. “It’s pretty exciting to see people light up at all of the little things that we can do for their animals.”

The ICI Homes model at FishHawk Ranch features the ‘pet condo’ for dogs, but sales manager Pam Malone says the builder has outfitted the space for cats, too.

“The space is lit for the pets, but we also put in an electrical outlet, because many people with cats have those self cleaning litter boxes and you need a place to plug it in,” Malone explains.

CalAtlantic Homes builds in several Tampa Bay area communities and also offers pet-friendly customization options, including dog showers.

Real-estate experts say, expect to see more pet-friendly design options offered in new-home models of all price ranges in the future, due in large part to the millennial generation. They’re now the primary demographic of pet owners, and its expected their tastes will drive the real estate market over the next decade.

For those not looking to buy a new home anytime soon, IKEA recently launched a line of pet furniture, including dog beds and cat houses. And there are plenty of posts on Pinterest that providing DIY inspiration.

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