Survey Pinpoints New-Home Kitchen Preferences

by WOHe

Survey Pinpoints New-Home Kitchen

WASHINGTON, DC New home buyers have a very clear idea about the
features, products, amenities and layout they prefer in a new home
and in their kitchens and bathrooms a recently conducted survey by
the housing industry’s leading trade association suggests.

According to the survey, conducted annually by the National
Association of Home Builders (NAHB), new home buyers want larger
homes, spacious kitchens and a wide range of interior features such
as laundry rooms, high ceilings and work areas in the kitchen. They
also want kitchens that are separate from, yet visually open to,
adjacent living spaces.

The survey results, contained in a recently published report
entitled What 21st Century Home Buyers Want, were based on a poll
by the NAHB. The survey involved 
some 1,200 recent and prospective home buyers who had a median age
of 44 years and a median household income of $45,500, according to
the Washington, 
DC based trade association.

The survey revealed, among its other findings, that new home buyers
want larger homes. For example, while the median size of the
respondents’ current home contains 1,770 sq. ft. of floor space,
they want a median of 2,071 sq. ft. in a new home, according to the

Interestingly, the homes desired by prospective buyers are
significantly larger than most of the new homes currently being
sold, the NAHB observed. In fact, the median size for new
single-family homes sold last year was about 2,070 sq. ft., the
association noted.

Survey respondents were split nearly evenly over the question of
whether they would prefer a larger home with fewer amenities or a
smaller home with high-quality products and amenities, according to
the NAHB. Fifty one percent of the respondents said they’d opt for
bigger homes, while 49% noted they’d prefer a smaller home with
more high end amenities.

Surveyed home shoppers also sent mixed messages when it came to
the question of how much space they’d like their kitchen to occupy.
For instance, while home buyers said they clearly desire kitchens
that are large, the kitchens typically offered in new homes are
apparently large enough that homeowners said they’d be reluctant to
expand kitchens further at the expense of other space, the NAHB
noted. In fact, only one third of the home shoppers surveyed
reported that they’d sacrifice living space for a larger than
average kitchen.

The number of bathrooms typically being offered in new homes
today is adequate enough for most home buyers, the survey

Other findings
Continuing a popular trend of the last 10 years, surveyed home
shoppers said they prefer kitchens that are adjacent to family
rooms with the two rooms visually 
open but separated by a half wall (see Graph 1).

In fact, more than 40% of the survey’s respondents said they
wanted the kitchen and family room to be adjacent and visually
open, but with a half wall separating the two rooms. By comparison,
20% said they prefer a completely open arrrangement, while another
9% prefer a layout with the two rooms side by side, but with a full
wall. About 18% said the rooms should be located in completely
separate areas of the home, and the remaining 8% noted that they
prefer an oversized kitchen and no family room.

Among the survey’s other findings were the following:

  • Of nine different materials for counters and kitchen
    workspaces, most respondents (55%) indicated that a solid surface
    material was essential or desirable. Cultured marble and laminate
    were each rated as desirable or essential by about one third of
  • A linen closet topped the list of desired bathroom features,
    with 88% of the survey’s respondents rating it as essential or
    desirable. Other features home shoppers said they want included an
    exhaust fan, a separate shower enclosure, water temperature
    control, a whirlpool tub, ceramic tile walls and a dressing/makeup
    area (see Graph 2).
  • White is the color that’s “in” for bathrooms with 56% of survey
    respondents noting they want a white toilet, tub and sink, compared
    to 32% who said they preferred a color for those
  • Laundry rooms (92%) rank on the top of the list of specific
    additional rooms desired or considered essential in new homes. A
    dining room was second in demand (79%) followed, in succession, by
    a home office (58%), a den/library (54%), a sun room (46%), an
    exercise room (29%) and a media room (28%).

Editor’s Note: The results of the survey cited above are
available in a report entitled What 21st Century Home Buyers Want,
available from the National Association of Home Builders. The
report includes data on preferences tabulated by level of income,
family type, age of householder, price range and more, according to
the trade association. Details can be obtained by contacting the
NAHB, at (800) 368-5242, ext. 272, or through

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