Laundry rooms and Energy Star–compliant windows topped the list of what buyers considered the most “essential” or “desirable” features in a home, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ 2019 “What Home Buyers Really Want” report, released at the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas this week. Most of the features that new homeowners or aspiring buyers ranked highest related to helping them save in utility costs, add extra storage, and spruce up the outside, said Rose Quint, the NAHB’s assistant vice president of survey research.
The NAHB surveyed nearly 4,000 consumers who either purchased a home within the last three years or plan to buy a home in the next three years to identify their top desires in a home. Consumers were asked to rank 175 home features based on how essential they were to their home purchase decisions.
Consumers ranked the following home features highest:
- Laundry room: 91%
- Energy Star windows: 89%
- Patio: 87%
- Energy Star appliance: 86%
- Ceiling fan: 85%
- Garage storage: 85%
- Exterior lighting: 85%
- Walk-in pantry: 83%
- Hardwood flooring: 83%
- Double kitchen sink: 81%
- Energy Star–whole home: 81%
While consumers may rank certain energy-saving features highly, they may not be motivated to pay more for them, Quint said. Sixty-eight percent of consumers said they are concerned about the environment and would like an environment friendly home, but they were not willing to pay extra for one.
However, when asked if they would pay more for a home to save $1,000 a year in utilities, the responses changed. Forty-six percent of respondents said they’d pay an average of $1,000 to $9,999 more for a home to save $1,000 per year on their utility bills; 37 percent would pay $10,000 or more.
“Buyers may not be turning their hearts to the concept of saving the environment, but they will respond positively if you put it in the dollar sense of what they can save,” Quint said. “This shows it’s important to advertise homes on the savings it will bring the home buyer and how it could put money back in their pocket.”
Additional consumer preferences that emerged from the survey included:
- 86% prefer an open layout, where the kitchen and dining room are open, either completely or partially.
- 70% of consumers prefer the washer and dryer on the first floor.
- 67% prefer 9-foot ceilings on the first floor.
- 64% want two or two-and-a-half bathrooms.
On the other hand, the survey found the features that ranked the lowest on home buyers’ wish lists:
- Elevator: 66%
- Wine cellar: 57%
- Daycare center: 50%
- Plant-covered roof (partially or completely): 50%
- Pet-washing station: 49%
- Dual toilets in the master bath: 48%
- Cork flooring: 47%
- Golf course community: 47%
- Two-story family room: 47%
- High-density development: 46%
- Laminate kitchen countertop: 46%