Top Features First-Time Home Buyers Want

Filed in Design, Economics, IBS, Trends by on April 8, 2020 14 Comments

After rising for six consecutive years (2010 to 2015), the average home size in the United States has fallen steadily for the past four years (2016 to 2019). In fact, estimates indicate the average home built in 2019 was the smallest since 2011. This trend is evidence that builders are working to meet the demand for smaller homes — that they are trying to shift their production mix toward more entry-level homes affordable to first-time buyers.

Given this reality, it is important to keep in mind what it is first-time buyers most want to have in a home. Below are some of the findings recently presented at the 2020 International Builders’ Show (IBS).

What type of home do first-time buyers want?

  • 77% prefer a single-family detached home
  • 1,977 square feet is the median size home they want
  • 59% would prefer to live in the suburbs
  • 40% want a two-car garage, but 12% want no parking facility at all
  • 76% want the kitchen and the family room to be completely or partially open
  • 57% want the laundry room on the first floor
  • 70% want stainless steel kitchen appliances

What specific home features top their wish list?

  • Laundry room
  • Hardwood flooring for the living areas of the main floor
  • ENERGY STAR windows
  • Walk-in pantry
  • Patio

What do they expressly say they don’t want?

  • Elevator
  • Charging station for electric car
  • Cork flooring
  • Wine cellar
  • Golf course community

If first-time buyers had to choose (for the same amount of money) between a smaller house with high-quality products/amenities and a bigger house with fewer amenities, 62% would opt for the former. In other words, after about 2,000 square feet of space, most first-time buyers will derive more value from quality amenities than from size.

A complete copy of the IBS presentation is available here.

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Comments (14)

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  1. Rick Byers says:

    Seems to be a real disconnect here. Article states reduction
    In home size. Reality is in most markets first time buyers are forced to multi family. What they describe they want in the polling is more in line with the move up buyer. Maybe this is why so many trap themselves into renting for so long as their needs and wants don’t align.

  2. Of course they wouldn’t put elevators, golf courses, and wine cellars on their first time buying list, unless they’ve been living in luxury under their parents’ houses. First time home buyers really look for what they actually need for the long run which also fits their desired budget. For many first time home buyers, buying their home is the biggest financial investment they’re making, that’s why it’s important to look for good financing options, and invest in excellent homes in respected and convenient locations. Also the reason why the list probably looks like this, its because the ones who answered have been renting for so long and are currently looking to finally buy.

  3. Yes, you have covered all the things and also provide good information. The first time buyers want a small and comfortable house to live. But I must suggest that Exterior lighting is a great way to add both curb appeal and functional lighting. A properly lit home is much more attractive and welcoming to everyone.

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