Survey: U.S. Homebuyer preferences in 2017

Shoppers over age 45 are looking to downsize. All age groups above 45 cited planning for retirement as their primary motive for finding a new house.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – April 13, 2017 – Ranch-style homes, large backyards and updated kitchens top shoppers' wish lists this spring, according to's latest home buyer survey. More than half of home seekers want a three-bedroom home, while 75 percent of shoppers are considering a two-bathroom home.

The survey, based on March data from shoppers on, provides insight into home buying trends in 2017 by analyzing the features shoppers are looking for this spring and summer – the peak home-buying seasons.

"The insights from our most recent consumer survey provide a glimpse into what buyers are looking at today," says Sarah Staley, housing expert for "While we often think of dream homes as being big and bold, that's not what we're hearing from potential buyers today."

Key findings

  • All age groups are looking for some combination of a backyard, garage and updated kitchen. Younger homebuyers who are more likely to have young children in the house are particularly excited about finding a large yard. These age groups are also most interested in living in a good school district.
  • The least-searched features were a guest house, mother-in-law suite, solar panels and a "man cave."
  • Ranch homes led shoppers' rankings of desired home styles with 42 percent of shoppers looking for a ranch home. No other style of home broke 29 percent, although contemporary came close with 28 percent, followed by Craftsman and Colonial styles.
  • Eighty percent of shoppers ranked the kitchen as one of their three favorite rooms in a home. Kitchens were followed by master bedroom (49 percent) and living room (42 percent) among most age groups. However, shoppers over 55 years old preferred garages over living rooms.
  • Privacy ranks as shoppers' top goal for buying, largely driven by buyers over age 45.
  • Most shoppers cite privacy as their top goal when searching for a home. Shoppers want to have a space that is solely their own. This preference can be attributed to mostly buyers between 45 and 64 years old, for whom privacy tends to beat out other preferences such as stability, family needs and financial investment.
  • Millennial shoppers cite family needs as the primary reason for entering the housing market.
  • Most millennials cited life events like increasing family size and getting married or moving in with a partner as their primary triggers for finding a new home. Shoppers age 35-44 are also focused on family needs. Most of this group cited better school districts or changing family circumstances as their primary reasons for purchasing a new home.
  • Shoppers over age 45 are looking to downsize. All age groups above 45 cited planning for retirement as their primary motive for finding a new house.
  • Among younger buyers, many of whom are buying starter homes, 40 percent were looking for townhouses and row houses. As shoppers age, however, that number declines and single-family homes are a clear preference. The older an age group is, the less likely they are to consider a townhouse and the more likely they are to prefer a single-family home.

© 2017 Florida Realtors. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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