Whether you’re in the market for a new home or are a homeowner planning to contribute to some of the $350 billion anticipated home improvement spending in 2019, a look at what consumers want can inform your choices. What people want most is storage.
Regardless of the Marie Kondo craze of purging your home of your possessions, a walk-in pantry and garage storage are among the top ten most wanted features of homebuyers surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). At the top of the list, deemed essential or desirable by 91 percent of buyers, is a laundry room. Just behind a laundry room are Energy Star-rated windows, a patio, Energy Star-rated appliances, a ceiling fan, garage storage, exterior lighting, a walk-in pantry, hardwood flooring, a double kitchen sink and Energy Star features throughout the home.
A well-designed home can be extremely functional no matter what size it is. The average size of a newly built home peaked in 2015 at 2,689 square feet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2018, the average size of new homes declined to 2,576 square feet, likely because builders are responding to affordability concerns. In addition, the NAHB points out that 14 percent of all new homes in 2018 were townhouses, which are not only a little smaller than most single-family homes but also are typically less costly.
The NAHB survey of approximately 4,000 homebuyers who recently purchased a home or plan to buy within the next three years, also focused on what many buyers and homeowners think is the most essential space in the house: the kitchen. According to Home Advisor, the average kitchen remodel costs $23,304. Most homeowners spend between $12,548 and $34,538 to remodel their kitchen.
According to NAHB’s survey, 86 percent of buyers prefer their kitchen and dining room to be completely or partially open. The majority of buyers (67 percent) prefer stainless-steel appliances and granite or natural stone countertops (57 percent). Just 15 percent of buyers want black appliances and 15 percent want white appliances. While quartz counters have become increasingly popular in recent years, just 21 percent of buyers said they want that material. Far fewer want Corian or similar solid surface counters (12 percent) and just 8 percent said they want laminate counters.
White kitchen cabinets are preferred by 32 percent of buyers, followed by medium brown (26 percent), dark brown (13 percent), gray (10 percent), beige (8 percent), black (5 percent) or other (6 percent). While these choices reflect the survey results, cutting-edge trends on display at the recent 2019 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show included colorful appliances and painted cabinets, as well as mixed tones of cabinets. For example, the base cabinets and base of the center island might be painted blue while the upper cabinets are white. Throw in an emerald green range and you’ve got a bright and cheerful kitchen.
The ten most popular kitchen features, rated as essential or desirable by buyers in the NAHB survey, include a walk-in pantry (wanted by 83 percent of buyers), a double sink (81 percent), a table space for eating (78 percent), a center island (76 percent), a granite or natural stone countertop (75 percent), pull-out shelves (73 percent), recessed lighting (69 percent), a drinking water filtration system (68 percent), a customized backsplash (68 percent) and special storage features such as a wine rack or spice cabinet (63 percent).
If you’re remodeling and plan to stay in your home for many years, you can do anything you want to personalize your home. But if you’ve got a plan to sell before the decade is up, it’s best to take some of these buyer tastes into consideration.