Specialty Rooms Are in Demand: Which Rank Highest?
December 10, 2019
A laundry room is the most popular specialty room (anything other than a bedroom, bathroom or kitchen) among Millennial home buyers, with 86 percent of them reporting that it is a desirable (36 percent) or essential/must have (50 percent) room (Figure 1).
This data comes from a recent NAHB report, What Home Buyers Really Want (2019 Edition), which is based on a survey asking recent and prospective home buyers about the features they want in a home and a community. Home buyers are asked to rank over 175 features (including specialty rooms) on a four-tiered scale of do not want, indifferent, desirable, and essential/must have.
It is important to note that a laundry room is not only the most popular specialty room among all home buyers, but the most popular feature out of the 175 features listed in the report. Figure 1 lists out the top ten specialty rooms wanted by Millennials (sum of the desirable and essential/must have shares; hover mouse over bars for total shares).
Coming in second on the most wanted specialty room list is a dining room: 77 percent of Millennials want one (39 percent consider it desirable and 38 percent, an essential/must have). After a dining room, the third most popular specialty room is a home office, wanted by 67 percent of Millennials. Not far down the list in fifth place, is the closely related ‘study/den/library’ specialty room (63 percent of Millennials want this room). These two items on the list indicate that Millennials want a space dedicated to work or school-related activities in a home.
A ‘great room (kitchen/family room/living room combined)’ is considered desirable or an essential/must have by 66 percent of Millennials. This specialty room is slightly higher on the list than a ‘separate family room’ (62 percent) and a ‘separate family room’ (61 percent), indicating that slightly more Millennials prefer an open concept for this area of a home. Rounding out the top ten are a mudroom, wanted by 59 percent of Millennials; and a sunroom and a breakfast nook, wanted by 58 percent of Millennials each.
Figure 2 shows the specialty rooms that have the largest percentage point preference difference between Millennials and older generations. A significant share of Millennials – 57 percent – want an exercise room, but the desire for one wanes with age, as 50 percent of Gen X’ers express an interest for one, 32 percent of Boomers, and 17 percent of Seniors.
A media room and a game room are also wanted by substantial shares of Millennials (57 and 52 percent, respectively), however the shares fall to only 20 and 14 percent of Seniors, respectively. Half of Millennials want a two-story entry foyer, compared to a third of Gen X’ers, 20 percent of Boomers, and only 17 percent of Seniors. Although less than half, a sizable share of Millennials want a wine cellar (43 percent), but essentially no Seniors express a strong preference for it (7 percent).
For additional information, an August 2019 NAHB study showed the history of Millennials’ preferences for select housing characteristics. The greatest level of detail—including preferences for hundreds of items broken down by generation, by geography, first-time vs. repeat buyer, household composition, race, income, and price expected to pay for the home—is available in the 2019 edition of What Home Buyers Really Want.