Lessons from 2014's Best-Selling House Plans

Outdoor living spaces reigned supreme in last year's top-selling plans

It can be difficult to draw sweeping conclusions about new design trends from sales data of house plans—popular plans tend to stay popular, and it takes time for new designs to catch on with consumers. While that's typically the case on an annual basis for our best-selling plans, there was a bit of turnover in 2014, with four new plans pushing their way to the top. (Interestingly, the new plans tended to be smaller, with an average square footage of 1,980 square feet compared with 3,160 square feet for those they displaced).

So what sweeping conclusions can we draw from 2014's best-selling house plans? Most strikingly, all of them boast impressive outdoor living spaces. Some include grilling porches, others offer screened porches, and four even boast outdoor fireplaces. All of these spaces are much more than afterthoughts (and lest it seem like all of this space is away from neighborhood sight, it should be noted that eight of the top 10 designs display front porches, too).

Other points of commonality among the top-selling plans: master suites on the main level (nine out of 10); at least one fireplace (all 10); and extensive kitchen counter space (all included an island, a snack bar, or both).

What do home buyers want in 2015? For clues, take a look at the top-selling designs of 2014 from the house plan subsidiaries of Hanley Wood, BUILDER’s parent company. Several things stand out: first, the list is pretty similar to last year's, though four of the plans have changed (the new ones are markedly smaller than those they replaced), showing that certain plans tend to resonate with buyers. Mixed materials adorn many of the exteriors. Inside, open floor plans, spacious kitchens, and first-level master suites were the norm. 

Note: Because of the large selection of plans offered and sold, the best-seller list represents a very small sample of overall sales. Data is taken from the twelve-month period prior to November 2014.

1. Five Years at the Top

For the fifth year in a row, this 2,091-square-foot design outsold all others (twice as much as the number two plan, in fact). Likely factors in its popularity include the appealing stone-and-shingle exterior, inconspicuous angled garage, and open layout that prioritizes kitchen space. Outdoor living features include a BBQ porch and lanai. See more images and details.