Lock down orders implemented across the US to fight the spread of the coronavirus have given rise to more people working from home and engaging in other activities indoors that they would normally do in public spaces. With the major shift in where people spend their time, it is important to examine the data currently available on home buyers’ preferences for home offices and exercise rooms, as demand for these specialty rooms may grow.
NAHB’s consumer preference study, What Home Buyers Really Want, surveys recent and prospective home buyers about the features they want in a home and community. The most recent survey, conducted in 2018, shows that a majority of home buyers – 65 percent – want a home office. This share has remained fairly stable in the 60+ percent range since 2007 (Figure 1).
In contrast to home offices, fewer than half of all home buyers are interested in having an exercise room at home, at least prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2018, 40 percent reported wanting a room dedicated for exercise. That number, however, has been rising slowly over the years, from 27 percent in 2003, to 35 percent in 2012, and then 40 percent in 2018 (Figure 2).
Although the lock down orders may be eased in the near future, the fact that millions of people were compelled to spend unprecedented amounts of time inside their homes may have a longer-term effect on people’s preferences for home offices, exercise rooms, and other specialty rooms. NAHB will continue this research in the months and years to come.