A quarter of Americans say the pandemic has changed their housing preferences, according to a newly released survey of about 3,000 recent home shoppers and buyers conducted last summer by the National Association of Home Builders. Growing demand for more square footage—particularly popular among those who work remotely—as well as home offices, touchless home entry, mudrooms, and flexible space are among the shifts in preferences.

Overall, 80% or more of survey respondents in NAHB’s 2021 What Home Buyers Really Want report indicate the following are the home features they consider most essential:

  1. Laundry room: 87%
  2. Exterior lighting: 87%
  3. Ceiling fan: 83%
  4. Energy Star-rated windows: 83%
  5. Patio: 82%
  6. Double kitchen sink (side-by-side): 81%
  7. Walk-in pantry: 81%
  8. Front porch: 81%
  9. Energy Star-rated appliances: 81%
  10. Hardwood flooring (in the living room on the main level): 81%
  11. Full bath on the main level: 80%
  12. Energy-efficient lighting: 80%

The survey also broke down desirable features by room. The five kitchen features survey respondents identified as most desirable are:

  1. Double sink (side-by-side)
  2. Walk-in pantry
  3. Table space for eating
  4. Central island
  5. Water filtration

The most desirable outdoor features are:

  1. Exterior lighting
  2. Patio
  3. Front porch
  4. Rear porch
  5. Deck

The most desirable accessibility features are:

  1. Full bath on the main level
  2. Doorways at least three feet wide
  3. Hallways at least four feet wide
  4. Non-slip floor surfaces
  5. An entrance without steps

The highest-ranked technology features buyers want:

  1. Programmable thermostat
  2. Security cameras
  3. Video doorbell
  4. Wireless home security system
  5. Multi-zone HVAC system

Meanwhile, home buyers also revealed features they consider to be turn-offs. Forty percent or more of survey respondents rated the following items as least desirable in a home or development complex:

  1. Elevator: 56%
  2. Glass walls: 54%
  3. Daycare center in the development: 50%
  4. Wine cellar: 48%
  5. Pet washing station: 47%
  6. Roof partially or completely covered by plants: 46%
  7. Golf course: 46%
  8. In-law suite: 42%
  9. Cork flooring (in the living room on the main level): 41%
  10. Dual toilets in primary bath: 40%