4 Favorite Single-Family Home Features

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The average new home is growing larger and includes features builders calculate will appeal to the well-heeled buyers who qualify to buy one: energy-efficiency, storage and the desire for a family gathering space.

“In recent years, buying a new home has required having a high credit score and also a pretty nice median household income, about $107,000, ” says Rose Quint, assistant vice president for survey research for the National Association of Home Builders, which released the report. “It’s not surprising at all to see that the home size and features are trending up.”

The average home size grew for the fourth year in a row, from 2,362 square feet in 2009 to 2,679 feet last year, according to Census Bureau data the NAHB released.

Nearly half of new homes built, 48 percent, boast at least four bedrooms, up from 34 percent in 2009. The share of homes with three-plus garages climbed to 22 percent last year, up from 16 percent in 2010.

The average price of a two-story, single-family home rose to $318,000 in 2013, up from $248,000 in 2009.
The credit score required for a home loan has also gone up. The average spread between the Experian credit score of all U.S. consumers and the average home borrower’s score rose to 58 points in 2013, Quint notes. The spread was just 33 points in the early 2000s. “There are not as many people who have the income that can qualify for a new home,” she says.

The features that builders are most likely to including in a new single-family home in 2014, according to an NAHB survey of builders:

  • A walk-in closet in the master bedroom
  • A laundry room
  • Low-e windows throughout the house
  • A great room

Energy efficiency is popular across the board in features specified in new homes, including appliances with top ratings from the U.S. EPA’s Energy Star program, programmable thermostats and Energy Star-rated windows.

Other features likely to find their way into new homes this year, according to builders, are granite countertops, a double sink and a central island in the kitchen, and a linen closet and private toilet area in the bathroom. Builders also said they are likely to include first-floor ceilings at least 9 feet high, a front porch, exterior lighting and a patio in new homes built this year.

Buyers draw the line at some upgrades, and other products fall out of favor. The least likely features to be included in 2014 homes, according to the builders: laminate kitchen countertops, an outdoor kitchen, an outdoor fireplace, a sunroom, a two-story family room, a media room, a two-story foyer and a whirlpool in the master bathroom.

Tags: home, walk-in closet, laundry room