While home buyer preferences and home trends change over the years, one thing has remained consistent: the majority of consumers still want to be homeowners. Furthermore, a majority of home buyers prefer a new home to an existing one, and 65 percent want that home to be in the suburbs, according to recent research and survey results released by the National Association of Home Builders.

Survey says

“…a majority of buyers across all incomes prefer a smaller house with more features and amenities over sheer size.”

The 2017 study “Home Buyer Preferences: Age, Income, and Other Factors” is based on a survey of recent and prospective home buyers and provides insights into what buyers are looking for and the trade-offs they are willing to make. 

While the survey showed that the preference for home size goes up as income goes up, a majority of buyers across all incomes prefer a smaller house with more features and amenities over sheer size. More than two-thirds of buyers are willing to trade size for high-quality products and features.

Top trends

In fact, for the first time in several years, the average size of newly built homes dropped from 2,689 feet in 2015 to 2,634 in 2016. This change marks a reversal of the growth trend that had been in place as builders focused on the higher end of the market during the housing recovery. As the entry-level market expands, including growth for townhouses, typical new home size is expected to decline.

The survey revealed that among the specific amenities and features that home buyers want, a separate laundry room tops the list of must-haves across all income groups. Energy-efficient features like low-E windows, Energy Star-rated appliances, ceiling fans and programmable thermostats are also at the top of buyers’ wish lists. Home buyers also prefer open concept living, a patio, exterior lighting and a full bath and laundry area on the main level. There were also many features that were not so popular among respondents and will not be included in the average home, such as cork floors, outdoor kitchens, sunrooms and a home elevator.