In the Kitchen, First-Time Buyers Really Want Double Sinks and Pantries

Much like other home buyers, those buying their first homes rate double sinks and walk-in pantries as the most popular of 30 kitchen features listed in the recent NAHB study, What Home Buyers Really Want, 2021 Edition.  In the study, first-time (and other) home buyers rated over 200 home features—including 30 in the kitchen—on the following, four-tier scale (which emphasizes how a feature influences the home purchase decision):

Tuesday’s post discussed the most popular of the 200-plus features among first-time buyers.  The chart below shows how first-time buyers rated the kitchen features specifically, sorted in descending order of percentage rating the features essential or desirable.

At the top of the chart, 80 percent of first-time buyers rated a double sink and a walk-in pantry essential or desirable.  More than 70 percent also rated three other kitchen features essential or desirable: drinking water filtration (78 percent), table space for eating (77 percent), and a central island (72 percent).  Next comes a group of seven kitchen features rated essential or desirable by 63 to 67 percent of first-time buyers: pull-out shelves, a desk or computer area, granite countertops, an instant hot water dispenser, breakfast bar, customized backsplash and recessed lighting.

One thing the chart shows is that first-time buyers tend to like a lot of different kitchen features.  Of the 30 listed in the study, 23 were rated essential or desirable by more than half of the first-time buyers.

The most popular kitchen features among first-time buyers are very similar to the most popular among home buyers in general.  For example, double sinks and pantries were also the two most popular kitchen features among all home buyers (repeat as well as first-timers), 81 percent of whom rated each of these two features essential or desirable.

To the extent repeat buyers differ from first-tine buyers in their kitchen preferences, the differences show up at the low end of the scale, among the relatively less popular kitchen features.  Although the list of least popular kitchen features tends to be similar for both first-time and repeat home buyers, the repeat buyers are often much more likely to say they “Do Not Want” the feature (i.e., are unlikely to buy a home with it).

For example,

  • 38 percent of repeat buyers “Do Not Want” laminate kitchen countertops (compared to 24 percent of first-time buyers),
  • 36 percent of repeat buyers “Do Not Want” a wine cooler (compared, again, to 24 percent of first-time buyers),
  • 32 percent of repeat buyers “Do Not Want” a steam oven (compared to 22 percent of first-time buyers),
  • 31 percent of repeat buyers “Do Not Want” ceramic tile kitchen countertops (compared to 17 percent of first-time buyers); and
  • 29 percent of repeat buyers “Do Not Want” a double island (compared to 19 percent of first-time buyers).

In addition to first-time and repeat buyers, What Home Buyers Really Want tabulates all home buyer preferences by Census division, age, generation, race/ethnicity, income, price they expect to pay for the home and household composition.  All these tables, along with an extensive write-up, charts, and a complete description of the survey methodology are available in the full study.

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