Builders know from sales history which of their homes buyers prefer. They can access databases to find out which of their competitors’ homes buyers prefer. But that kind of analysis only reveals what buyers may choose from what’s available.

When consumers buy house plans, like Hanley Wood’s 10 best sellers shown on the following pages, they act out a dream. They betray a longing for timeless elevations, informal living, and luxurious master suites. They dream strongly enough that they pay money to buy the plan.

Builder’s parent company, Hanley Wood, is the largest purveyor of house plans in the United States. Each year we examine their best-selling plans to identify consumer trends. Interestingly, this year’s most popular plans, which average 3075 square feet, are a little larger than the average house plan, 2584 square feet, bought by consumers last year.

These top sellers read much bigger than they actually are. Nearly all of them feature porches, often multiple porches, typically with large windows that provide expansive views out the back of the house. These porches often read like rooms, with fireplaces, garden tubs, and more.

These top sellers are also long on first-floor, bedroom suites with sitting areas, a feature that builders may find expensive to provide in land-constrained markets.  An aging population looking to avoid stairs partly explains this preference as well, along with the fact that many house plans are built in Sunbelt states.  Morning kitchens and large master bathrooms were also recurring features.

We previously looked at best-selling builder house plans, which were characterized by simple roof lines and geometric footprints. These best-selling plans to consumers are longer on curb appeal, though several would be disarmingly inexpensive to build.

10. Luxury Living on a Single Level

Fillmore Design Group

3310 Square Feet

See the house and plans here

With its stately stone exteriors, this buttoned-down, one-story country manor would look at home in nearly any market, which may account for its popularity. An impressive, though not oversized, timber-framed entrance makes a strong first impression. It leads into a gallery flanked by a formal dining room and a great room with a window wall overlooking the rear patio. A huge master bedroom includes a sitting area and a walk-in closet that’s as large as the master bathroom. The gallery leads to a three-bedroom wing. The plan features an attached two-car garage, and a detached garage and workshop accessed through a covered breezeway.


9. Graceful Details

Frank Betz Associates

2246 Square Feet

See the house and plans here

Here’s a classic design from Frank Betz Associates, a firm that understands the needs of production builders as well as dream home buyers. The plan packs a lot of features into 2246 square feet, including four potential bedrooms, an oversized master suite, and an optional bonus room on the second floor over the garage. The home’s otherwise geometric building footprint is punctuated by a bayed turret that houses a sunny master suite with tray ceilings and a canted bay sitting area. The plan features a vaulted great room that spills into a large, light-filled kitchen area with nook. As with many Betz plans, interior walls are kept to a minimum.