13 Key Features New-Home Buyers are Prioritizing in 2024

March 14, 2024

A recent study shows that home buyers are happy with smaller properties as long as they have these 13 key features.

13 Key Features New-Home Buyers are Prioritizing in 2024

According to recent research from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the average size of newly constructed homes has dropped to the lowest average size in 13 years - 2,411 square feet. The study, aptly titled What Home Buyers Really Want, found that home buyers are looking for homes around 2,070 square feet. To align with home buyers' preferences, 26% of builders are planning to build even smaller in 2024. Rose Quint, NAHB assistant vice president of survey research, says this is related to two linking factors: changes in home buyer preferences and a decrease in housing affordability.

Even though buyers are open to smaller square footage, they want it to be more personalized. "They want it to feel like it was made just for them and be significantly different than their neighbors' homes" said Donald Ruthroff, founding principal at Design Story Spaces, LLC. in press conference at the recent International Builders' Show in Las Vegas. So what spaces and features are buyers prioritizing? According the the NAHB study, More than 80% of buyers rate the following as "essential" or "desirable":

  1. Laundry room
  2. Patio
  3. Energy Star windows
  4. Exterior lighting
  5. Ceiling fan
  6. Garage storage
  7. Front porch
  8. Hardwood flooring
  9. Full bath on the main level
  10. Energy Star appliances
  11. Walk-in pantry
  12. Landscaping
  13. Table space in kitchen

Along with these features, buyers are also prioritizing technology that improves energy efficiency and enhances home safety, such as programmable thermostats, multi-zone HVAC systems, security cameras, and video doorbells. The following features have also increased in popularity in the last decade: 

  • Quartz or engineered stone for kitchen countertops
  • Lighting control system
  • Outdoor fireplace
  • Outdoor kitchen
  • Built-in seating in the kitchen
  • Exposed beams

Home builders also shared the features they're most likely to include in new-builds in 2024, including: 

  • Laundry room
  • Great room (kitchen/family/living room)
  • Nine-foot-plus first-floor ceilings
  • Central island in kitchen
  • Walk-in closet in primary bathroom
  • Low-E windows
  • Walk-in pantry
  • Front porch
  • Programmable thermostat
  • Two-car garage
  • Indoor fireplace
  • Patio
  • Quartz kitchen countertops

Some features they're less likely to include? Cork flooring in main-level living areas, geothermal heat pumps, dual toilets in primary baths, glass walls, and pet washing stations.

Source articles: 13 Features New-Home Buyers Say Are Essential, Desirable; Better, Not Bigger, Homes Among Top Design Trends for 2024

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