The NAHB released the results of a survey during a press conference at the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas indicating what home buyers are looking for in 2019.
NAHB surveyed nearly 4,000 home buyers — those who have either recently purchased a home or plan to purchase a home within the next three years — ranking 175 features based on how essential they are to a home-purchasing decision.
The top 10 features also included home-storage needs, such as garage storage and walk-in pantries, as well as hardwood flooring, a patio and exterior lighting.
Housing trends across the board include a continued decline in the average home size and decreased demand for upscale features such as three-plus-car garages. In 2018, according to information from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average home started declined to 2,576 square feet — down from its peak at 2,689 square feet in 2015 — driven in part by increased production in townhouses, which comprised 14% of new home starts.
“Builders are trying to meet demand where it’s hottest, and that is at the lower price points,” Rose Quint, AVP of survey research at NAHB, noted regarding the increase in townhouse production. “To that end, they are building more townhomes and smaller detached homes. Townhomes take up less land, and that automatically brings the price down.”
Recent trends show new homes have been downsizing since 2016; fewer have four or more bedrooms, or three or more bathrooms. These data “show that builders are trying to respond to the crisis around housing affordability,” Quint added.
NAHB’s survey also includes key information on types and location of homes desired by buyers, including generational differences. Suburbs are the most desirable home location (64%), followed by a rural setting (24%) and the central city (11%). Millennials are the most likely to want to buy a home in a central city (23%), compared to Gen X buyers (11%), baby boomers (8%) or seniors (3%).
Additional details on the NAHB data are featured in the full 300-page report, What Home Buyers Really Want (2019 edition).