New Home Buyers Seeking Special Features

Single-family home surrounded by lawn and trees/shrubs | Photo by Todd Kent/Unsplash
Published On
Feb 17, 2021

After declining for four years, a number of key trends—including the average size of the home and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms—reversed course in 2020 as a result of shifting buyer preferences in the wake of COVID-19.

While the average home size remained flat at 2,486 square feet, the percentage of homes with four or more bedrooms and three or more bathrooms rose to 46% and 33%, respectively, which is rising closer to 2015 peaks.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Washington, D.C., an increased number of rooms within the same footprint means homeowners are becoming more creative in how they use the space within their homes, and they are using features such as windows to help make these spaces feel larger.

NAHB also examined preferences among buyers to help builders determine what features are most likely to resonate in the market in 2021. Interestingly, the top four features (of the top seven that NAHB listed) are related to electrical work and features:

  • Laundry rooms
  • Exterior lighting
  • Ceiling fans
  • Energy Star windows and appliances
  • Patios and front porches
  • Kitchen double sinks
  • Walk-in pantries

New homes are gaining popularity as well, with 60% of buyers preferring new homes—the highest level since 2007. Quint attributes this increased interest in new homes to three key factors.

“The primary reason is that COVID-19 has led a segment of home buyers to desire larger homes and to move out to the suburbs,” said Rose Quint, NAHB’s assistant vice president for survey research, at a press conference held during the NAHB International Builders’ Show virtual experience.

“One is the absolute lack of existing home inventory,” Quint said. “Two is buyers are concerned about touring other people’s homes. And last but not least, new homes are more likely to be located where buyers want to live.”

Quint added that outlying suburbs are the most popular geographic location, driven by increased interest among minority home buyers.

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