Bigger continues to equate to better, according to a newly released NAHB consumer preference survey. The study, “Changing Homes of the New Millennium,” and its author, staff vice president for research, Gopal Ahluwalia, found that the median size of a new home is still rising—to 2,123 square feet, up from 2,113 square feet in 2002, and is significantly larger than the median in 1990 (1,905). Those paying more than $1 million for their homes expected homes averaging 4,438 square feet.

Almost half (40 percent) of the respondents said that they would be willing to buy a home without a living room. More than half of new homes (52 percent) have three bedrooms; 37 percent have four. The most preferred features in new-home kitchens are a walk-in pantry (78 percent), island work areas (71 percent), and light wood cabinets (59 percent). In the bathroom, the most popular feature is a linen closet (45 percent).

In a separate NAHB survey, “Facts, Figures and Trends 2004,” the NAHB found that 19 windows, 19 tons of cement, and 13,837 board feet of framing lumber go into a typical newly built 2,272 square-foot home. Eighty-three percent of respondents had a garage built for two or more cars, though Ahluwalia notes, ironically, that many people with such garages do not use them for cars, but for general storage and even office space.