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Traditional Features Still Prominent as Home Sizes Decrease

Consumers’ preferred home size decreased in 2016 for the first time since 2009, but classic home mainstays still make up the most in-demand amenities according to new statistics released at the 2017 International Builders’ Show by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

The average size of new single-family homes decreased from 2,689 square feet in 2015 to 2,634 square feet in 2016, marking the first decline in average new home size since 2009.

“I gather out of all this data, my conclusion is that 2016 marked the end of a period, the end of an era that began back in 2009 when the homes got bigger and bigger year after year, more loaded with amenities year after year,” said Rose Quint, assistant vice president for survey research with NAHB. “That ended in 2016. Those trends were halted and reversed that year. Looking forward, I expect the size of new homes to decline as builders get ready for increasing demand from first time buyers and from younger buyers.”

NAHB also released the results of a survey of new home builders and the likelihood that certain features would be included in their new homes.

The three features most likely to be found in single-family homes are walk-in closets in the master bedroom, laundry rooms, and energy efficient windows. This data offers insight on what features are going to be popular with new home-owners in 2017 and could offer insight into potential remodeling projects for clients that choose to remain in their current house.

The features that are least likely to be included in new homes also offer opportunities for remodelers to enhance new homes that might be missing desirable upgrades like a sunroom or outdoor kitchen. Other features less likely to be found in new homes are cork flooring in main level rooms, solar water heating and electric systems, pet washing station, and media rooms.

The report also surveyed new homeowners and homebuyers to find what features consumers are looking for. The report segmented homeowners into income four separate groups, under $75,000; between $75,000 and $100,000; between $100,000 and $149,999; and $150,000 and above. For smaller technical upgrades, the top two most desired features were unanimous across all income levels with wireless home security as the top choice, and a programmable thermostat as the second most desired home technology.

For larger home features, a laundry room was the top “essential” feature among all income brackets. Also universally desirable were ceiling fans and full baths on the primary floor. Lower income home buyers were searching for features such as a double sink in the kitchen and exterior lighting, while high-income homebuyers looked for shower and tub in the master bath and patios.

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