It’s the billion-dollar real estate question: What are the must-have home features that home buyers simply have to have in 2019?
The surprising—and extremely practical—answer: laundry rooms! An overwhelming 91% of home buyers said laundry rooms are an essential, or at least desirable, feature they want in their abodes, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ newly released 2019 home trends and buyer preferences report.
The report was based on a survey of about 4,000 home buyers. It was presented this week at the group’s annual convention, along with new research from design and remodeling site Houzz.
Having a room devoted to washing soiled clothes, as it turned out, outweighed some of the far sexier and trendier home features out there, including hardwood floors or a tricked-out, outdoor living space, according to the NAHB report.
“Laundry rooms have become so popular because most people no longer want to see or step over messy lumps of dirty clothes in the hall or in the kitchen,” says Rose Quint, who oversees survey research at NAHB. “Buyers want all that behind a door they can close and get to when they have time.”
Next up in popularity were Energy Star windows (officially certified to be energy-efficient); outdoor patios; Energy Star appliances; and ceiling fans.
Meanwhile, the least popular home feature was an elevator. Hey, stairs are cheaper and better for your figure!
Buyers also said they could live without wine cellars; day care centers; plant-covered green roofs; and trendy pet-washing stations. (Sorry, Fido.)
Buyers also have some strong preferences for the type of homes they want to live in and where they want those residences to be. The vast majority of shoppers, 77%, prefer detached, single-family homes, compared with 13% for townhouses, 4% for multifamily units such as condos, and 4% for manufactured (typically mobile) homes, according to the report.
When it comes to location, nearly two-thirds of buyers, 64%, want to be in the suburbs, while 11% pine for the big city and 24% prefer rural areas. But no matter where they live, they want to be near retail space where they can grab a bite or go shopping and walking or jogging trails.
“Suburbs are preferred locations since they offer a better possibility of getting a larger home—necessary for growing families,” says Robert Dietz, NAHB’s chief economist.