In the recent NAHB study, What Home Buyers Really Want, 2021 Edition, side-by-side double sinks and walk-in pantries ranked as the most popular of 30 listed kitchen features. This result is based on a comprehensive, nationwide survey of 3,247 recent and prospective home buyers conducted in the summer of 2020.
Among other things, the survey asked recent and prospective buyers to rate over 200 home and community features using the following, four-tier scale (which emphasizes how a particular feature influences the buyer’s purchase decision):
Topping the list of kitchen features, the side-by-side double sink and walk-in pantry are rated essential or desirable by 81 percent of buyers. More than four of every 10 buyers think the double sink is so essential they would be unlikely to buy a home without it, the highest essential share of all kitchen features listed. After the top two, four features are wanted by more than 70 percent of buyers: table space for eating (78 percent), a central island (77 percent), drinking water filtration (76 percent), and granite or other natural stone countertop (73 percent). Not far behind, three features are essential/desirable to more than two-thirds of all buyers: recessed lighting (69 percent), customized backsplash (69 percent), and pull-out shelves (68 percent). Overall, more than half of home buyers rated 20 of the 30 kitchen features either essential or desirable.
Millennial (born 1980 to 1996) and Gen X (born 1965 to 1979) buyers are more likely to want certain kitchen features than their Boomer (born 1946 to 1964) counterparts, by a margin of 25 percentage points in some cases. For example, a steam oven is desirable or essential to 51 percent of Millennials and to 47 percent of Gen X buyers, but only to 19 percent of Boomers – a 32 point difference between the youngest and oldest buyers. Likewise, considerable shares (>50 percent) of the younger two generations would be positively influenced to purchase a home if the kitchen included a trash compactor, a wine cooler, a central island with range, and a double island. In contrast, the share of Boomers who want those features only ranges from 25 to 37 percent. All these generational differences are statistically significant, and remain significant after controlling for the income, race, geography and household composition of the buyer.
To see home buyer preferences for other features (including all results broken down by Census division, age, generation, race/ethnicity, income, priced expected to pay for the home, household composition, and first-time vs. repeat buyer) and a complete description of the survey design and sampling methodology, please consult the full study.