The Features Most/Least Likely To Be Included In Your Next Home

Your next new home is less likely to have a whirlpool bathtub, or even a linen closet.

What might have are energy-efficiency features, even if you don’t necessarily notice them. And it’s still hard to find a new home that doesn’t include a walk-in closet in the master bedroom.

The whirlpool tub in the master bathroom makes the list of the 10 features builders are least likely to include in a home built this year, according to a recent survey from the National Association of Home Builders. And its popularity, at least among builders, has dropped since 2012, the first time this survey was done.

Admittedly, it isn’t the least likely amenity — that would be an outdoor kitchen, complete with cooking, refrigeration and sink. But that one, unlike a whirlpool, is actually a touch more likely to be included this year than in 2012.

The NAHB ask builders to rank features from 1 (not at all likely to include in a typical single-family home) to 5 (very likely to include). The lists show few changes in the top 10, and most ratings show only incremental shifts, if any. That’s because preferences don’t change very quickly.

While fewer prospective buyers may not want a luxurious bathtub experience, showers are another story. One bathroom feature that is rising in popularity is multiple shower heads in the master bathroom. In 2012, showers with multiple showerheads fell off he list of 10 least likely features, with an average rating of 2.9. In 2015, the rating rose to 3.1.

Linen closets aren’t quite going the way of laminate countertops, one of the least likely features builders will include this year, according to the NAHB survey. But their popularity has dropped over the past three years, from 4.6 to 4.2.

The focus on energy efficiency is curbing builders’ interest in building two-story rooms. Consumers consider those spaces to be energy inefficient.

The most popular energy-efficiency feature are low-emissivity, or low-e, windows. These have a special coating that helps keep heat inside during the winter and outside during summer.

They are now “almost the norm” in new construction. Consumers looking to replace windows can judge their energy efficiency by ratings from the National Fenestration Rating Council. The U-factor, which measures how well it keeps heat from escaping, is more important in colder climates, while the solar heat gain is the more important number in warmer climates.

The features least likely to be included in a house built this year

Feature 2015 average rating 2012 average rating
Outdoor kitchen (cooking, refrigeration and sink) 1.9 1.8
Laminate countertops in kitchen 2.0 not asked
Outdoor fireplace 2.1 1.9
Sunroom 2.1 2
Two-story family room 2.3 2.2
Media room 2.3 2.3
Two-story foyer 2.5 2.6
Walking/jogging trails in community 2.6 2.6
Whirlpool in master bathroom 2.7 3
Carpeting as flooring on main level 2.9 not asked

Source: NAHB

The features most likely to be included in a house built this year

Feature 2015 average rating 2012 average rating
Walk-in closet in master bedroom 4.9 4.8
Laundry room 4.8 4.7
Low-e windows 4.8 4.6
Great room (kitchen-family-room-living room) 4.7 4.7
Energy-star-rated appliances 4.5 4.4
9-foot ceiling or more on first floor 4.4 4.3
Energy-star-rated windows 4.4 4.3
Programmable thermostat 4.4 4.3
Two-car garage 4.4 4.3
Granite countertop in kitchen 4.3 4

Source: NAHB

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