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Continuing NAHB’s commitment to be at the forefront of research on home buyer preferences, the 2024 edition of What Home Buyers Really Want was recently released at the International Builders’ Show. The primary objective of the study is to provide builders, manufacturers, architects, and the general residential construction industry with a thorough analysis of what buyers are looking for in their homes and communities.  Because of the inherent diversity in buyer backgrounds, the study provides granular specificity based on demographic factors such as generation, geographic location, race/ethnicity, income, and price point.

The study reveals that buyers want smaller homes than they did 20 years ago.  In 2003, the typical home buyer wanted 2,260 square feet of finished area.  In 2023, that number was down to 2,067 square feet.  Figure 1 shows there has been a permanent downward shift in buyer preferences for home size.  From 2003 to 2012, the typical buyer wanted to buy a home ranging in size from 2,200 to 2,300 square feet.  Since 2015, that range dropped to between 2,000 and 2,100 square feet.