What does your dream home look like? For some people, it’s a sleek vision of marble countertops, sparkling tiled floors and monochrome decor. For others, it’s a cozy, cottagecore fantasy featuring timber beams, window shutters and a crackling log fireplace.
The beauty of having our own space is being able to fill it with what we like. And while home buying in the U.S. might be at its lowest level in over a decade, that doesn’t stop us from perusing online house listings and ogling the fixtures, fittings and features we can’t help but admire. Indeed, nearly a third of Americans use Zillow to daydream about houses out of their budget.
So from extravagant swimming pools to elegant bay windows, what are the most desirable features in homes today? We went in search of the house listings that attract the most views online to find out.
What We Did
Analysts at Frontdoor ranked home features (e.g., hardwood flooring, double ovens) on the number of average daily views received by home listings on Zillow containing each feature (found by searching for keywords). Average daily views were calculated using data on total views and the number of days a listing was live on Zillow.
- Hardwood floors are the most popular feature in houses listed on Zillow, with the average house containing hardwood floors receiving 261 views per day.
- Granite countertops, double ovens and butcher blocks are the most popular features in the kitchen; the average house with one of those features gets 160 views a day.
- In the bathroom, sunken tubs are the most popular feature (174 views on average a day), while conservatories come top in the garden (209 views a day).
- Reclaimed wood is the most popular eco-friendly feature (190 views a day).
Hardwood Floors Top the Home Features Americans Are Most Interested In
Good-looking, durable and easy to clean, it’s easy to see why hardwood floors are the most desirable home feature of all, with the average hardwood-floored home listing on Zillow racking up 261 views a day. Indeed, so attractive is this feature that over half (54%) of home hunters would pay more for a home with hardwood floors, and 64% of homeowners who install it themselves find it makes being at home more enjoyable.
You don’t have to look far on social media to find clips of positively giddy home renovators discovering high-quality wood flooring under old carpets. Among the next most desirable features are open-plan areas (226 views on average a day), en-suites (214 views) and conservatories (209 views).
Tastes differ on a regional level, giving us an insight into what locals prioritize or daydream about the most in a home search. Water features (like pond fountains) are the most attractive in the often drought-beset states of Arizona, California and Nevada. Ohio — which experiences particularly cold winters — is the only state where a fireplace is the most popular feature, and a garage is the most desirable home feature in Hawaii, where a local can spend as much as 37% of their rent on parking.
In New York, the most desirable home feature is the bay window, perhaps so city dwellers can own a piece of classic architecture that allows for perching and watching the busy world go by. Elsewhere across the map, built-in storage, metal roofs and double ovens are among the most popular features to be found on online home listings.
Next, we went from room to room in search of the most popular home features, according to house hunters on Zillow. First up, the kitchen…
Granite Countertops Among the Most Desirable Kitchen Features
They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, a room where the average American spends over 400 hours a year. But what are the hottest kitchen features a house on the market can offer? Three features stand out as the most desirable online: granite countertops, double ovens and butcher blocks. House listings with any of these features receive an average of 160 views a day.
While granite countertops were once so popular that they featured in 64% of new homes, a recent study revealed that engineered quartz is now the most popular option for homeowners upgrading their countertops. That same study revealed that most homeowners opt for a butcher block countertop when they choose to upgrade their kitchen island with contrasting materials.
Home Hunters Love Open-Plan Living Rooms
We already know that America is enamored with hardwood flooring, so it’s no surprise that it’s also the most desirable feature in living rooms. After that, open-plan living rooms are the next most popular type, with the average house listing featuring such a living room receiving 226 views a day.
Open-plan living rooms became popular in the 1970s and have been so ever since. Along with the physical benefits of open-plan living rooms — like more natural light and lots of room to hang out with the family — there are financial upsides too: according to one study, houses with open-plan living spaces appreciate in value by 7.4% each year. And speaking of natural light, next on the ranking are two types of windows: bay windows (199 views a day) and floor-to-ceiling windows (183 views a day).
A Sunken Bathtub Is the Most Popular Bathroom Feature
A sunken tub is the most desirable feature in the bathroom, with the average home listing containing one clocking up 174 views a day. Integrated into the floor, these tubs are far from an everyday occurrence in homes, which is perhaps why they pique the curious interest of so many house hunters. According to a 1963 issue of Modern Living magazine, sunken tubs — popular in the mid-20th century — were inspired by the luxurious Roman architecture and lifestyle showcased in the film Cleopatra.
Likewise, other admirable bathroom features on our ranking suggest an air of glamor and spa-like luxury. These include the power shower (161 views), steam shower (149 views), double sink vanity (139 views) and vanity lighting (132 views). Could it be that Americans searching for a new home are increasingly drawn to bathrooms that offer the private spa experience?
So says Barbara Sallick, author of The Ultimate Bath: “The bath has become the most sought-after space in the home for relaxation or privacy, and that’s especially true since COVID, when we all had more time to focus on our well-being … the bath is no longer left for last-minute design choices … clients now devote considerable planning and a generous part of their budget to bath design.”
Americans Can’t Get Enough of Sunroom-Style Conservatories
You don’t have to be a keen gardener to appreciate a spacious and welcoming yard, but what are the most popular garden features? On top is the conservatory (209 average daily views), a space also known as a sunroom. On their appeal, designer Chris Egner comments: “They let in lots of light, and they give you great views. If you have a wooded lot or live on a lake, you want to take advantage of that view. They give you the feeling of being outdoors while you’re indoors.”
Next up is a shed (200 views) — always handy for storing yard equipment — and a swimming pool (186 views), a fairly rare find considering only 8% of American households have one. Hot tubs (165 views) and the increasingly popular fire pit (164 views) are also highly desirable, likely because they’re great places to bond with family and friends — not to mention the air of luxury they add to a garden.
The Top 10 Eco-Friendly Features Americans Are Most Interested In
America is going green at home, with a survey revealing that the majority (92%) of homeowners in the U.S. are investing in eco-friendly home improvements like smart thermometers and water-saving toilets. But which eco features in particular catch the eye of those browsing houses online? On top comes reclaimed wood (190 daily views), which is saved from the landfill when it’s repurposed for home features like countertops and furniture.
Solar panels (122 daily views) rank fourth, a feature which — while often pricey to install initially — can save homeowners money on utility bills. Electric vehicle charging points are also popular (63 daily views), a must-have for the 4% of Americans who currently own an electric vehicle and the 12% who are seriously considering buying one.
Why Not DIY the Dream?
Don’t despair if some dreamy home features seem unattainable — there may be a way you can DIY a must-have feature at a reasonable cost. Even trendy fire pits are possible to build at home with the right tools and know-how. If you just want to improve the space and amenities you already have, you can always try your hand at doing your own fixes and repairs — but it’s best to leave some of the more complicated and potentially dangerous tasks to professionals.
Open the Frontdoor
With the Frontdoor app, a better way to home repair is here. You can video chat with plumbing, electrical, appliance, HVAC, and handyman Experts in real time for all your home repair needs. They’ll give you step-by-step guidance to complete the repair or help you find the right, local Pro when in-home help is needed. Download the Frontdoor app today to start taking control of your home repair to-do list. Your first video chat is free!
To determine the home features Americans are most interested in, we reviewed data on real estate listings site Zillow. Home features were ranked based on the average daily views for listings containing each feature. Home listings containing each feature were parsed out using keyword search. Average daily views were calculated using data on total views and the number of days each listing was live on Zillow. On the national level, only features present in at least 100 home listings were considered, while features present in at least 10 listings were included at the state level. The analysis of this data is correct as of November 2023.
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