Like any market, real estate is at the mercy of trends that grab the attention of prospective buyers. In 2017, it seems consumers are most taken with useful outdoor areas, ranch-style houses and modern kitchens.

A recent survey done by indicated that house size isn’t really the driving issue. Just over 50 percent of those surveyed were looking for a three-bedroom house, and around 75 percent wanted to have at least two bathrooms. Survey data was collected in March, with the goal of providing information before the summer housing rush begins.

“The insights from our most recent consumer survey provide a glimpse into what buyers are looking at today,” says Sarah Staley, an analyst at “While we often think of dream homes as being big and bold, that’s not what we’re hearing from potential buyers today. These insights can help guide potential sellers in deciding which rooms or features to invest in before listing their homes.”

A noticeable trend is that homebuyers want to be able to do more with the space they have, and not just have more space. Garages are increasing in popularity, as are updated kitchens and backyards. In fact, most shoppers are looking for property that includes some combination of those three features.

Families looking for a new house seem most interested in the backyard and the kitchen space. Geography is also important for families with children, as these people are usually as much interested in the local schools as they are some of the home attributes. Aside from location, yard space could be the top factor for families with younger kids.

As for the most popular type of home, there is a clear favorite. Ranch-style houses were the preferred home for 42 percent of shoppers. The next style on the list – contemporary houses – came in at 28 percent. Behind contemporary, home buyers are currently most interested in Craftsman and Colonial.

Whatever the preferred style, the kitchen is still the room that garners the most interest. Four out of five shoppers ranked the kitchen as a top-three room in the house. The next highest rankings were for master bedrooms and living rooms, attracting 49 and 42 percent of shoppers, respectively. Those statistics apply to shoppers of all ages, with the exception of people over 55, who prefer garages to living rooms.

Currently, the number one goal for those looking to a buy a new house is privacy. This is seen in the rising popularity of single-family homes. It’s worth noting that this data is primarily driven by people between the ages of 45-64.

Meanwhile, millennials cite family needs and finances as the top reasons for buying a home. Within this group, events like marriage and having a child are the main catalysts for house shopping. For those between 35-44, finding a better school district was another notable objective.

While millennials shop for houses to accommodate growing families, people over 45 are frequently downsizing their homes. Almost all people in this age group, and subsequent age groups, include planning for retirement as one of the main reasons to look for a new place to live.

There is another clear divide as to what types of property people look for during their younger versus later years. Younger individuals are more likely show interest in townhouses and other, similar developments; older homebuyers are more inclined to look for single-family homes.

There are plenty of trends driving the current real estate market, and it’s helpful to see what styles and features are the most popular. At the same time, it’s important to study the metrics in order to understand the full picture.

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