No National Consensus on Exterior Design Preference

2024-04-04T09:16:07-05:00

According to the latest What Home Buyers Really Want Study*,  home buyers have rather diverse preferences when it comes to the architectural style of their home.  In fact, there is no national consensus on exterior design.  At best, a plurality of 34% would prefer to purchase a ‘traditional’ home (rooted in historic styles), while a smaller 26% would rather buy a ‘contemporary’ home (clean lines, sloped roofs, expansive windows).  Far smaller shares of 17% and 12% of buyers, respectively, would choose a ‘modern’ home (bold, boxy, flat roofs) or a ‘transitional’ home (contemporary design with traditional cues) (Fig. 1). Like exterior design, buyers also have divergent preferences for the material used to frame the home.  A plurality of 37% would like wood, 25% concrete, and 23% steel to be the framing material on their home (Fig. 2).  Importantly, the 48% who preferred concrete or steel did so despite the explicit notice that those choices would involve $15,000 to $35,000 in additional costs. This is an important finding, given than over 90% of new homes built in the United States use wood framing.  It provides builders an opportunity to explore diversification into non-lumber alternatives, especially as the U.S. Commerce department is poised to increase tariffs on Canadian lumber from 8% to 14% in 2024. *  What Home Buyers Really Want, 2024 Edition sheds light on the housing preferences of the typical home buyer and is based on a national survey of more than 3,000 recent and prospective home buyers.  Because of the inherent diversity in buyer backgrounds, the study provides granular specificity based on demographic factors such as generation, geographic location, race/ethnicity, income, and price point.

No National Consensus on Exterior Design Preference2024-04-04T09:16:07-05:00

Outdoor Features & a Laundry Room Among Most Wanted Features

2024-04-03T09:22:08-05:00

The two most wanted features in a home are a laundry room and a patio, according to NAHB’s latest study on buyer preferences—What Home Buyers Really Want Study*.  Buyers in the study were given a list of 200+ features of the home and the community and asked to rate each one on a consistent scale (essential, desirable, indifferent, do not want) in order to produce comparable results. The most wanted list consists of 13 features rated essential or desirable by at least 80% of all home buyers in the study (Fig. 1).  In addition to the laundry room and a patio, both wanted by 86% of buyers, the list also includes: Three additional outdoor features: exterior lighting (82%), a front porch (81%), and landscaping (80%). Two in the kitchen: table space for eating (80%) and a walk-in pantry (80%). Two related to energy-efficiency: ENERGY STAR windows (83%) and appliances (80%). Plus, ceiling fans (81%), garage storage (81%), hardwood for the main level (81%), and a full bath on the main level of the home (80%). The most wanted list in Figure 1, although valuable and informative, doesn’t change much over time.  Clearly, builders ought to try to incorporate as many of these features as possible, given that 80%+ of buyers have a strong preference for them.  But are there other features, perhaps not as widely popular, that are growing on home buyers? Figure 2 shows the 10 features with the most growth in popularity in the last 10 years—all have seen the share of buyers rating them essential/desirable increase by at least 25 points since 2012.  At the top of this most-growth list are security cameras, now wanted by 76% of buyers, 36 points higher than a decade ago, followed by a wired home security system (up 35 points) and a programmable thermostat (up 31 points). Technology is the common thread through all the features gaining the most favor with buyers in the last 10 years.  Figure 2 also allows us to glean that buyers are leaning on technology primarily for two purposes: to increase the safety of their home and to save energy by efficiently controlling the temperature of their home. *  What Home Buyers Really Want, 2024 Edition sheds light on the housing preferences of the typical home buyer and is based on a national survey of more than 3,000 recent and prospective home buyers.  Because of the inherent diversity in buyer backgrounds, the study provides granular specificity based on demographic factors such as generation, geographic location, race/ethnicity, income, and price point.

Outdoor Features & a Laundry Room Among Most Wanted Features2024-04-03T09:22:08-05:00

NAHB Releases What Home Buyers Really Want, Study Shows Buyers Want Smaller Homes

2024-03-20T08:18:56-05:00

Continuing NAHB’s commitment to be at the forefront of research on home buyer preferences, the 2024 edition of What Home Buyers Really Want was recently released at the International Builders’ Show. The primary objective of the study is to provide builders, manufacturers, architects, and the general residential construction industry with a thorough analysis of what buyers are looking for in their homes and communities.  Because of the inherent diversity in buyer backgrounds, the study provides granular specificity based on demographic factors such as generation, geographic location, race/ethnicity, income, and price point. The study reveals that buyers want smaller homes than they did 20 years ago.  In 2003, the typical home buyer wanted 2,260 square feet of finished area.  In 2023, that number was down to 2,067 square feet.  Figure 1 shows there has been a permanent downward shift in buyer preferences for home size.  From 2003 to 2012, the typical buyer wanted to buy a home ranging in size from 2,200 to 2,300 square feet.  Since 2015, that range dropped to between 2,000 and 2,100 square feet. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau on the size of new homes confirm they have been shrinking for nearly a decade.  The average size of new homes started in 2023 dropped to 2,411 square feet (the smallest in 13 years), continuing a downward trend that began in 2015 when average home size peaked at 2,689 square feet.  The only year that saw home size increase during this period was 2021, due to the pandemic-induced desire for additional space to work/study from home and the low interest-rate environment that allowed buyers to purchase those bigger homes.  But the decline in average home size resumed in both 2022 and 2023.  Importantly, the median size of new homes has also trended down for a decade, reaching 2,179 square feet in 2023. This is the first of a series of posts over the next few weeks that will cover the most important findings in the latest What Home Buyers Really Want, 2024 Edition.  The study is based on a national survey of more than 3,000 recent and prospective home buyers, selected to proportionally represent of the US population in terms of age, income, race/ethnicity, and region of the country.

NAHB Releases What Home Buyers Really Want, Study Shows Buyers Want Smaller Homes2024-03-20T08:18:56-05:00

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