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Exclusive research: What buyers want in kitchens and baths


Exclusive research: What buyers want in kitchens and baths

There were no flavor of the month upgrades for kitchens and baths as home buyers remained cost-conscious and sought the same amenities that were popular in the 2011 survey.

April 29, 2013
This article first appeared in the PB April 2013 issue of Pro Builder.

There were no flavor of the month upgrades for kitchens and baths as home buyers remained cost-conscious and sought the same amenities that were popular in the 2011 survey.

Wine racks and warming drawers stayed at the bottom of the list while food prep areas, islands, pantries, and energy- efficient appliances were the most sought-after features for the kitchen, according to our recent survey of 205 Professional Builder readers. Towel warmers and no-fog mirrors were low on the request roster too, as dual vanities, separate tub/shower, decorative tile, and accessories that match faucets and fixtures trended higher for bathrooms.
Methodology and Respondent Information
This survey was distributed in March 2013 to a random sample of Professional Builder’s print and digital readers. No incentive was offered. By closing date, a total of 205 eligible readers responded. Respondent breakdown by discipline: 33.7 percent custom home builder; 30.1 percent diversified builder/remodeler; 11.6 percent designer/architect; 8 percent production builder; 1.5 percent systems builder, 1 percent multi-family builder, and 14 percent other.
Granite and quartz once again were the most popular materials for kitchen counters and bathroom vanity tops. Besides countertops, the top kitchen upgrades were cabinets—usually with the medium natural finish—and appliances. The most popular bathroom upgrades were plumbing fixtures and separate shower/tub.

High demand for energy-efficient appliances remained steady. Water conservation is top of mind with builders and buyers, no thanks to the WaterSense initiative—the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to incorporate efficient water usage in the planning and design stages of home construction. Eight of ten respondents said they never heard of the program or were familiar but not involved.

Cabinets had long been king in the kitchen, but countertops grabbed a lead share of upgrades.

Flooring leapt over vanities in the 2013 survey as a bigger seller for the bathroom.

More than one-third of builders surveyed said they increased the size of their kitchens in the past 24 months.

The kitchen and master bath continued to be the biggest drivers of upgrade sales.

The majority of builders agreed the kitchen is the room that makes or breaks the sale of a house.

Few respondents indicated they had built Watersense-labeled homes or used Watersense-labeled plumbing fixtures.

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