Homebuyers seek accessibility and multi-generational living features: study

Sarah Paynter
Reporter

A new study reveals the most in-demand home features across the nation — with some telling results about the U.S. population. 

With 73 million Baby Boomers in the U.S. — all of whom will be 65 or older by 2030 — homebuyers in 21 states are seeking age-friendly homes, according to a new study by Realtor.com, a California-based real estate listing website. 

Buyers in nine states, including Colorado, Georgia and Ohio searched for accessibility features that mitigate stair use, like single-floor homes and homes where the master bedroom is on the first floor.

Most searched home feature by state. Graphic by: David Foster.

“A lot of Baby Boomers are reaching later stages of life and are focused on age-friendly amenities. Lack of stairs is one of those. Many prefer a one-level home where master bed kitchen living spaces are on one floor, seeing those gaining popularity,” said George Raitu, senior economist at Realtor.com.

Independent apartments, with separate entrances, kitchenettes and living spaces, were popular in 15 states, including Indiana, Louisiana and Oregon, made accessory dwelling units their top search. Found above garages, in a separate building or part of a larger home, these “accessory dwelling” living quarters facilitate multi-generational housing for homebuyers with aging parents. 

“Particularly for the ‘sandwich generation’ in their 30’s and 40’s, which spans Gen X and the millennial generation, these are adults caring for small kids and aging parents. Multi-generational housing has become a priority” for them, said Raitu. 

Read more: Buying a home: Everything you need to know

Desire for more space

Outdoor space was another top consideration. For home seekers in Iowa, Vermont, South Dakota and four other states acreage and yard space were a priority. Even in New York, “where outdoor space can be hard to come by, residents would love to have a balcony,” said a Realtor.com representative.

Some states had more specific desires for added square footage. In Idaho, consumers wanted homes to include an RV parking space, while in Wyoming, homebuyers wanted space to accommodate their horses. Meanwhile, water access and views were another important consideration in six states, including Missouri, Florida and Minnesota, which happen to be adjacent to rivers, oceans and lakes.

Other states showed that home preferences can vary dramatically, depending on the geographic area. Home seekers in California searched primarily for solar panels, while in Alabama and Arizona, they wanted gas stoves. North and South Carolina buyers wanted brick homes, while Connecticut, New Hampshire and Texas looked for modern, contemporary designs. 

“It reinforces how location-specific buyers tend to be, even when it comes to home features — we see quite a bit of variation,” said Raitu.

State

Top Feature

Alabama 

Gas stove

Alaska

Yard

Arizona

Gas stove

Arkansas

Lake view

California

Solar (panels/energy)

Colorado

Main floor master

Connecticut

Contemporary

District of Columbia

Metro (transportation)

Delaware 

First-floor master

Florida

Canal

Georgia

First floor master

Hawaii

Fee simple

Idaho

RV (parking space)

Illinois 

Fenced yard

Indiana

Pole barn

Iowa

Acreage

Kansas 

Reverse (water filtration system)

Kentucky

First-floor master

Louisiana

Mother-in-law suite (accessory dwelling unit)

Maine

Camp

Maryland

Rancher (single-floor home)

Massachusetts

Mother-In-law suite

Michigan

Pole barn

Minnesota 

Lakeshore

Mississippi 

Mother-in-law suite

Missouri

Dock

Montana

ADU (accessory dwelling unit)

Nebraska 

Villa

Nevada 

Casita

New.Hampshire

Contemporary

New Jersey 

Mother-in-law suite

New Mexico 

Casita

New York 

Balcony

North Carolina 

Brick

North Dakota

Rambler (single-floor home)

Ohio

First-floor master

Oklahoma

Storm shelter

Oregon

ADU (accessory dwelling unit)

Pennsylvania

Parking

Rhode Island

1-level

South Carolina

Brick

South Dakota

Acreage

Tennessee

Creek

Texas

Modern

Utah

Mother-in-law suite

Vermont

Acreage

Virginia

First-floor master

Washington

ADU (accessory dwelling unit)

West  Virginia

River access

Wisconsin 

Country

Wyoming

Horses (accommodations)

Sarah Paynter is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @sarahapaynter

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