A survey of 3,247 recent and prospective homebuyers found a large majority of respondents see energy-efficient windows as a desirable or must-have home feature. The National Association of Home Builders’ “What Buyers Really Want” 2021 survey found 39% of buyers say Energy Star-rated windows were essential features in a home and 44% said they were desirable, making up 83% of respondents. This resulted when the NAHB questioned buyers on window characteristics. The top three most valued window characteristics all had to do with energy conservation. The second most important feature to buyers was triple-pane insulating glass, desired by 73% of buyers.
At the very top are ENERGY-STAR rated windows, rated essential (39 percent) or desirable (44 percent) by 83 percent of home buyers, followed by tripled-pane insulating glass, wanted by 73 percent of home buyers (21 percent essential; 52 percent desirable); and low e-insulating glass, preferred by 65 percent of home buyers (21 percent essential; 44 percent desirable). Only two other window features positively influence more than half of home buyers: bay or bow windows (57 percent) and skylights (54 percent). Floor-to-ceiling windows, a new featured added to NAHB’s home buyer preference survey in 2020, were rated essential or desirable to slightly less than half (48 percent) of home buyers.
Buyers tended to be relatively indifferent about the materials used for the window frames. For example, 41 percent of home buyers are indifferent to fiberglass windows, more than any other feature. Essentially the same share is indifferent to aluminum glass windows (40 percent) and sizable shares are indifferent to wood or clad wood windows and vinyl windows (37 percent each).
Preferences for floor-to-ceiling windows in particular are positively related to the buyers’ incomes and price they expect to pay for the home. Only 33 percent of home buyers with income of less than $50,000 want floor-to-ceiling windows, compared to 66 percent of buyers with income of $150,000 or more. Similarly, only 37 percent of buyers who expect to pay less than $150,000 for their home want it, 24 percentage points lower than among buyers who expect to pay $500,000 or more for their home (61 percent).