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Home Buyer Preferences Shift Post-Pandemic

Home buyer preferences have continued to shift home building trends following the height of the pandemic. The National Association of Builders (NAHB) expects home size and amenities in homes to grow in 2023 — a reflection of the preferences of those who can afford higher interest rates — before dropping again in 2024 as affordability improves with lower mortgage rates and more buyers re-enter the market.

Not only is housing affordability evolving post-pandemic, but so are home buyer preferences. For example, NAHB found that the demand for more flexible and better-equipped home spaces is rising. The changing tastes apply to first-time and repeat buyers — most of whom prefer an open-kitchen family room, which can be reconfigured and better utilized to provide more space for additional rooms.

According to the most recent study of NAHB’s What Home Buyers Really Want, other home features that resonate with both first-time and repeat home buyers include:

  • Laundry rooms
  • Exterior lighting
  • Ceiling fans
  • Patios
  • Walk-in pantries
  • Hardwood flooring on the main level

Home buyers are also interested in how their home can support their well-being and how it interacts with the outdoors. As a result, walking paths and other outdoor spaces connected to homes have become increasingly popular. Buyers also seek natural materials in their new homes and other biophilic design options; a style focused on bringing nature indoors. Builders also saw tremendous demand for exterior amenities — such as patios, decks and porches — in 2022, along with home offices, reflecting post-pandemic work-from-home trends.

In terms of the space buyers are seeking, NAHB found that the average size of a new home dropped slightly from 2,525 square feet to 2,480 square feet in 2022, and the percentage of new homes with 3 or more full bathrooms and at least a 3-car garage dipped to 33% and 17%, respectively. Meanwhile, the percentage of homes with 4 or more bedrooms rose slightly to 48%, partly because of the flexibility that bedrooms can provide.

If you’re looking for a new home or would like more information on design trends, contact your local association, here.