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What are the Most Sought-After Features in a Home?

Laundry rooms are the top most-wanted feature for a home.

According to Zillow’s December 2021 report, the total value of private residential real estate in the U.S. grew by a record $6.9 trillion in 2021, to $43.4 trillion – more than double the level from a decade ago as the market fully recovered, and then some, from its immediate, post-Great Recession lows. Housing inventory nationwide dropped below 1 million to record-low levels, meaning there were fewer options for would-be home buyers on the market at the end of 2021 than any time in recent history.
Even though the experts predict 2022 will continue to be a strong seller’s market, savvy builders must never lose sight of the need to stay on top of buyer preferences. Here is some recent data collected from various real estate information resources.

  • The most desirable feature of a home may not be inside the home at all. It’s no surprise that for buyers, the most important feature is the neighborhood location of a home.
  • The true value in a property is the land. At the end of the day, all those upgrades inside the home will depreciate.
  • Some buyers will choose a less expensive home so that they can remodel and add high-end finishes to the kitchen and baths.
  • The desire for an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or the space to build one can make highly priced areas actually cost buyers less since they can either accommodate multigenerational families or generate revenue through renting. And now with recent law changes, they’re even easier to build.
  • You don’t realize how important a garage is until you don’t have one.  Homes with garage conversions or carports instead of a garage will take longer to sell.


  • For homebuyers, some of the terms with the biggest spikes in the number of monthly searches were “affordable homes for sale” (up 108% in 2020 compared to pre-pandemic times), followed by search phrases such as “first-time homebuyer” and “tiny home for sale” —Searches for “luxury condos” were up 50% compared to 2019.
  • For homeowners, “mortgage refinancing” — which was up 124% in 2020 compared to 2019. The key phrase “home office design” jumped 125% from 2019 to 2020, staying high in 2021 as well. It was followed by the search phrase “buying a second home,” which jumped 53% in 2020 compared to 2019.


  • 60% of homebuyers are looking for new builds rather than an existing home.
  • There is a 4% increase in preference for moving to the suburbs.
  • Two-thirds of homebuyers want a single-family detached home over a townhouse or condominium.
  • There is a preference for larger homes.  Average home size is just over 2,000 square feet, and 8% increase of the previous average of 1,877 square feet.
  • A laundry room is the top most-wanted feature for a home with 87% saying it is a must-have.  63% want it to be located on the first floor.  81% seek out EnergyStar appliances.
  • Exterior lighting is the second most desired feature, with 87% putting a priority on it.
  • Over three-quarters of homebuyers are looking for kitchen items like a double sink (81%), walk-in pantry (81%), table space for eating (78%), central island (77%), and drinking water filtration system (76%).
  • More than half of homebuyers are willing to pay up to $5,000 more for a home if they can save $1,000 on their utility bills each year. 83% of buyers want EnergyStar-rated windows.
Most buyers would rank neighborhood location of a home as a top priority.
According to Heat & Glo’s research seven out of 10 homeowners say fireplaces are a must-have in their new home. The fireplace giant recently announced that the highly customizable luxury Stellar gas fireplace has officially become a Heat & Glo brand.

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