Home Buyers Show New Interest in Kitchens, Bedrooms

Today's home buyers are seeking surprising key features in rooms such as the kitchen and bedroom, and they are willing to make sacrifices to get them, according to the latest PulteGroup Home Index Survey by PulteGroup, Inc., one of the nation's largest home builders.

The kitchen was the most important area when choosing a new home, according to 29 percent of Americans. Following closely behind the kitchen wasn't the bathroom as most would suspect – but another priority – the bedroom.  The master bedroom ranked as the second most important room in a new home at 22 percent.  And the living room surprisingly was cited as the third most influential in their decision-​making at 18 percent.

"As consumer confidence improves and the appetite for home buying increases, consumers today aren't just looking for the biggest house on the block.  They're looking for more efficient use of space and a greater area allocated to 'workhorse' spaces, like the kitchen," said Ryan Marshall, executive vice president of home building operations, marketing and sales for PulteGroup, Inc.  "Home buyers want unique features and amenities and will do what it takes to find the home they truly want, even if they have to pay more for a move-​in ready home."

MAKING COMPROMISES

According to the 2014 PGHI, nearly half of adults (44 percent) are willing to give up a location near public transportation in exchange for must-​have features in their next home.  Further, more than one-​third of respondents (35 percent) said they would give up better schools and proximity to entertainment and shopping (34 percent) for their desired in-​home amenities.

INFLUENTIAL HOME FEATURES

More than half (51 percent) of adults surveyed indicated that they want their next home to be larger than their current residence and 64 percent preferred their next home be move-​in ready.  Consistent with the desire for more space, critical features homebuyers are seeking include:

  • "His-​and-​her closets" ranked highest among master bedroom features (31 percent), followed by spa-​like master bathrooms (23 percent)
  • A large eat-​in area was the most preferred feature in the kitchen (23 percent), followed by a kitchen island (22 percent)
  • At least one bathtub in the home was the most sought after bathroom feature, desired by more than half of respondents (54 percent)

"In addition to the more common home options, we're starting to see regional trends emerging among home buyer preferences," said Marshall.  "From outdoor kitchens in Florida, to spice kitchens in California, shoppers are increasingly discerning when it comes to home features that could be the deciding factor in their next move."

Regional trends identified by PulteGroup include folding, accordion-​style glass doors in the Southwest, multi-​generation floor plans and screened-​in porches in the Southeast, balconies off the kitchen and rooftop terraces in the Northeast, and "Jack n' Jill" bedrooms and coffee bars in the Midwest.

Likely home buyers, who comprise 7% of the U.S. adult population according to Ad-​ology Research, also over-​index for their intent to buy bedroom furniture in the next year, a detail that underscores their interest in this part of their new home. In the past 30 days, these consumers were more likely than average to take action as a result of a radio ad, so this media form may be a good way for builders and realtors to connect with this audience.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to Ad-​ology PRO. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.