Adobe Stock/Vicktor Belicak

The America at Home Study founders, including marketing expert Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki of tst ink; architect Nancy Keenan, president and CEO of Dahlin Group Architecture Planning; and consumer strategist Belinda Sward of Strategic Solutions Alliance, recently released survey results from its third iteration, or the first post-pandemic.

With the findings from the first two waves released in June and December 2020, the third wave uncovers how living behaviors and needs have shifted over the past two years.

The third wave aligns with the first two surveys as a nationally representative survey of 3,000 U.S. adults between the ages of 25 to 74 with an annual household income of $50,000 per year or more. It was hosted by Gazelle Global Research in October 2022, then appended with Kantar’s MindBase syndicated consumer attitudinal segmentation.

“We’ve already shown that Americans have strong opinions about what they want in a new home, but the insights from wave three brought underlying wellness considerations to the surface, helping us see the strong relationship between personal well-being and what we want from our physical environments,” says Keenan. “With the overarching desire for better wellness, the lasting reality of lifestyle changes including hybrid work, and the stated importance of home, this creates an abundance of new-home design opportunities.”

See below for some of the new insights the third wave of the America at Home Study uncovered and stay tuned for a three-part article series by Keenan on additional findings.

  • The idea of “home” evokes more positive emotions than at the start of the pandemic. When asked, “What does home mean?,” the top answers grew in importance. Americans associate home as a safe space first (93%, up from 89%), followed by comfort (91%, up from 86%), and relaxation (87%, up from 82%).
  • For all generations, all areas of well-being increased in importance since 2020. Emotional well-being is now the most important area overall (89%, up from 83%), followed by financial well-being (86%, up from 83%), mental health (85%, up from 80%), and physical health/fitness (83%, up from 76%).
  • When asked what they were most hopeful for, respondents selected “immediate family” (62%), followed by “a better, healthier me” (39%) and “my home” (34%). Furthermore, when respondents ranked the most important rooms in their homes, they identified the family room (46%), primary bedroom (19%), and kitchen (18%) as most important.
  • Respondents stated their biggest concerns were inflation (62%), the economy/jobs (36%), and climate change (31%). Despite those worries, only 15% of respondents said they are putting off big purchase decisions like buying a new home or car.
  • With climate change as a top concern, respondents expressed interest in many eco-friendly home features. A private outdoor space or garden (67%) and energy conservation (65%) were top priorities, followed by water conservation (54%), eliminating chemicals and VOCs (54%), low-energy windows (52%), and a home that minimizes impact on the environment (46%).
  • Even though the importance of home is expanding, the physical home may not need to. Data between waves two and three showed a 20% increase in renters who would be at least “somewhat willing” to accept a smaller yard. Additionally, 50% of people are “somewhat willing” to accept a “smaller than ideal” home.
  • Different generations showed varied interests and priorities, but three specific attributes took the top spots for missing features. Millennials favored expanded and better storage above all (62%), while storage came in second for Gen X and baby boomers (54% and 49%, respectively). The most important home feature for Gen X and baby boomers was greater technology and energy efficiency (58% and 50%, respectively), which was second most important for millennials (59%). For every generation, the third most important was a better-equipped kitchen for cooking (millennials at 58%, Gen X at 47%, and baby boomers at 38%).
  • A large portion of respondents want a new home with walkable access to coffee shops and casual eateries (43%). This was previously unidentified as an important community feature, yet now it outranks features like small parks with seating (40%), farmers markets (38%), gym/fitness facilities (37%), and outdoor fitness spaces (36%).