Top 12 features homebuyers want in 2021

Single-family homes in the suburbs are important to buyers
(Photo: Kara Eads, Unsplash)

Single-family detached homes remain the most popular style among homebuyers (67%), according to a report by the National Association of Home Builders.

Related: Homeowners prioritize privacy, even outside

NAHB’s “What Buyers Want, 2021 Edition” report identifies the features most in demand among recent and prospective homebuyers. NAHB surveyed nearly 3,250 buyers in Summer 2020, asking new questions about how their preferences have changed as a result of the pandemic.

  1. Laundry room: 47% essential, 40% desirable
  2. Exterior lighting: 42% essential, 45% desirable
  3. Ceiling fan: 49% essential, 34% desirable
  4. ENERGY STAR rated windows: 39% essential, 44% desirable
  5. Patio: 33% essential 49% desirable
  6. Side-by-side kitchen sink: 42% essential, 39% desirable
  7. Walk-in pantry: 34% essential, 47% desirable
  8. Front porch: 34% essential, 47% desirable
  9. ENERGY STAR appliances: 33% essential, 48% desirable
  10. Hardwood floor on main level: 32% essential, 49% desirable
  11. Full bath on main level: 42% essential, 38% desirable
  12. Energy efficient lighting: 31% essential, 49% desirable

Buyers’ flight for the suburbs is borne out in the data: 30% of buyers said they preferred a home in outlying suburbs, up from 26% prior to the pandemic, NAHB found. The share of people who wanted to move all the way out to rural communities fell one point to 23%, so buyers aren’t willing to give up all the amenities of the city.

Related: What the WFH era means for new home builders

Asian homebuyers were most likely to say they were considering a home in the suburbs, as 71% said the were looking to move to a suburb compared to 62% before the pandemic. Sixty-three percent of Black homebuyers and 52% of Hispanic homebuyers agreed, a respective seven- and six-point increase from before the pandemic. White buyers were already more likely to report a preference for the suburbs, with only a one-point increase to 57% of buyers.

Other findings from the study:

  • Open layouts aren’t going away, yet. Eighty-five percent of buyers want an open layout between the kitchen and dining room, and 79% want an open layout for the kitchen and family room.
  • Electricity is the preferred method of heating and cooling (52%), but gas is preferred for cooking (51%).
  • Forty-two percent of buyers want a two-car garage.
  • Buyers are evenly split between multigenerational living (39%), with people of color more likely to report a preference for multigenerational design, including 53% of Hispanic buyers, 50% of Black buyers, and 46% of Asian buyers.

Related: Pandemic smooths millennials’ bumpy road to homeownership

Danielle Andrus

Danielle Andrus was previously the managing editor for Colorado Builder, and is currently Editor for the Journal of Financial Planning.

Danielle Andrus has 341 posts and counting. See all posts by Danielle Andrus

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