Features home buyers desire in new construction homes, Key Materials for Contemporary Homes, Property advice

The Top Features Home Buyers Desire in New Construction Homes

January 10, 2024

Features home buyers desire in new construction homes
Image by mgattorna from Pixabay

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association conducts an annual survey of new homebuyers across Canada about their preferences. The 2023 Homebuyers Preference Study surveyed 20,720 homebuyers on over 50 home features and design areas. The results show the top features they desire in new construction homes.

Built-In Storage

It seems the Canadians desire adequate storage spaces above all else. The top preference in the 2023 survey is walk-in closets in the main bedroom. However, they also want closets elsewhere in the home, which garnered the 6th spot on the list. They also name two-car garages and linen closets as must-haves in their new homes.

Given the current shortage of new homes, buyers will consider smaller houses. However, those designed for space efficiency with built-in storage spaces could result in a bidding war.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency persists in gaining traction in the eyes of homebuyers. Most prefer buildings with high-efficiency windows and an air exchange system, contributing to the home’s overall energy efficiency.

High-efficiency windows have two or three layers of glass sealed as one unit with a frame, which could be uPVC, wood, or other material. The sheets of glass have a gap between 4 and 20 mm filled with insulating gas. It keeps the heat in during winter and out during summer.

It is interesting to note that a top feature in 2022 that did not make it to 2023 is large windows. Regarding this essential home feature, glazed is in, big is out.

On the other hand, many homeowners will appreciate energy recovery ventilators or ERVs. These air ventilation systems allow homeowners to save energy without compromising air quality.

While anyone would benefit from energy-efficient homes, Ottawa residents would profit even more. Keeping their energy bills low increases the likelihood of eligibility for the Ontario energy rebate. Consequently, energy-saving appliances are also on the list, just behind kitchen islands in third place.

Kitchen Focus

It is probably not surprising that homebuyers focus on kitchen design and features. After all, it is the heart of the home.

Survey participants named kitchen islands the second most desirable feature of a new home. It climbed up the 2022 list from fifth place but with the same elements: ample storage space and stone tops.

Complementing the erstwhile kitchen island is the open-concept kitchen. Traditional kitchens have walls that separate them from the rest of the home, typically nearest the dining room. As you can probably imagine, an open-concept kitchen has no walls or other barriers. The space flows through the surrounding areas, collectively known as a “great” room.

Eliminating barriers makes sense, given that homes are now smaller, so open-concept kitchens create the illusion of space. Additionally, it provides an airy, light feel to the home as natural light can permeate through all the windows.

However, this feature barely made it on the list, dropping from 7th place to 10th place. Nevertheless, it continues to be popular enough in Canada to influence new home designers. It is uncertain whether the desire for kitchen islands contributed to the inclusion of the open-concept kitchen, but it certainly works. Add seating to the islands, and you could have an award-winning design.

External Factors

Features home buyers desire in new construction homes
Source: Finder.com

In another survey, participants indicated that outdoor spaces are their top priority in 2023 for buying a new home. Back in  2021, homebuyers in Canada prioritized larger living spaces by a significant margin. The shift may be due to the trend toward smaller houses. Other factors that determined choice also declined significantly in importance from 2021 to 2023. These include the home’s style and look, driveway and/or garage, and proximity to amenities.

However, you should note that the survey dived deeper into the demographics and found significant variations among different generations. Boomers prioritized easy access to amenities, while Gen Xers and millennials chose spacious yards as a top consideration. Gen Zers preferred large living spaces that satisfied their esthetic sense.

Gender was also a differentiating factor in some preferences. For example, women prioritized the home’s style and look more by 7.5 percentage points than men. On the other hand, men wanted driveways and/or garages 6.4 percentage points more than women. Additionally, more women considered being close to family and friends as a dealmaker than men.


Annual surveys of Canadian homebuyers illustrate that the desired top features for new construction homes remain relatively consistent. The top priorities are storage, energy efficiency, kitchens, and outdoor spaces. While the hierarchy might change slightly from year to year, the general preferences remain the same.

The consistency of homebuyer preferences benefits home design professionals by ensuring that new homes retain their market value. The high demand for homes might make that a moot point as homebuyers settle for what they can get. However, new homes that cater to the buyers’ desires are more likely to command better prices.

Comments on this guide to The Top Features Home Buyers Desire in New Construction Homes article are welcome.

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