When you drill down to its essential elements, there’s no question that our business is all about pleasing people. So it stands to reason that a builder with insight into what appeals most to buyers—in addition to what they don’t like—has a considerable edge in the market.
To provide its members with the best information possible, NAHB conducts an annual survey of recent and prospective home buyers to determine what they want in a home.
Sometimes the results are exactly what you expect; sometimes they’re surprising. But they always help sharpen that often blurry picture of what will most appeal to buyers.
The 2019 survey reveals that the feature home buyers want most is a laundry room. Almost all prospective home buyers—91%— said a laundry room is essential or desirable. The rest of the top five most wanted features are Energy Star–rated windows (89%), a patio (87%), Energy Star–rated appliances (86%), and ceiling fans (85%).
The most wanted feature in the kitchen is a walk-in pantry, which 83% said is essential or desirable. A close second at 81% is a side-by-side double sink, followed by table space for eating (78%), a central island (76%), and a granite or natural stone countertop (75%).
When it comes to technology, it’s clear that new and prospective home buyers intend to protect their investment. The most wanted technology feature, at 46%, was a security camera. Forty-five percent of those surveyed wanted a video doorbell, and 40% wanted a wireless security system.
Two energy-related features completed the top five most wanted tech items: a programmable thermostat at 44%, and a multi-zone HVAC system at 39%.
The survey results provide clear evidence that for home buyers, a green home is first and foremost an energy-efficient home. In addition to the Energy Star–rated windows and appliances mentioned previously, the green features most often rated as essential or desirable were an Energy Star rating for the entire house (81%), efficient lighting (77%), and triple-pane insulated windows (77%).
Other resource-conserving features buyers want include insulation with an R-value higher than required by code (73%), water conserving toilets with a flush volume lower than federal standards (63%), and low-E insulated windows (62%). Rounding out the list of desired green features were tankless water heaters (61%) and solar water heating or electric systems (59%).
In addition to knowing what prospective home buyers want, it’s very important to know what they don’t want.
It’s perhaps no surprise that 66% of those surveyed said they don’t want an elevator, which are typically found in high-end single-family homes. Wine cellars, another common feature of high-end homes, were rejected by 57% of those surveyed.
Other unwanted features include a plant-covered roof (50%), a nearby daycare center (59%), and a pet washing station (49%).
The latest edition of “What Home Buyers Really Want” is available from NAHB’s BuilderBooks.com or the BuilderBooks distributor, IPG, at 800-888-4741.