The open floor plan continues to be the most popular type of living space among potential recent and potential homebuyers, especially younger ones, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). And almost no one wants a split level. 

The survey report, titled What Home Buyers Really want, found that large numbers of buyers want open layouts for their kitchens, family and dining rooms. That was the stated preference of 43 percent of Millennials and 40 percent of Gen X'ers, although fewer Boomers (37 percent) and seniors (29 percent) expressed that preference. Slightly less-open arrangements were also popular, with open kitchen and dining room combinations rating high with all generations.



Millennials are the least likely to want a single-story home. Only 35 percent of them expressed a preference for it, compared to 53 percent of Gen X'ers, 80 percent of Boomers, and 74 percent of Seniors. A majority of millennials - 55 percent - want a two-story structure. However, this option is not as popular among Gen X'ers (38 percent), Boomers (17 percent), and Seniors (21 percent). A minority of buyers in all generations want three-stories or a split-level home.  In fact, either choice was picked by fewer than 10 percent of respondents, regardless of age.



NAHB said, in a separate report, that builders are beginning to build more single-story homes. Citing data from the US Census Bureau's Survey of Construction (SOC), NAHB's Fan-Yu Kuo said that there are more two story homes started than those with one story, but the two-story share fell from 55 percent in 2017 to 53 percent the following year with the one-story share rising two points to 47 percent.  Among the nine census divisions the greatest growth was in the southern region, where the shares of one-story homes climbed 9%, 7% and 7% in the South Atlantic, East South Central and West South Central, respectively. The West North Central is the only division for which the share of single-story homes declined from 2017 to 2018.

Returning to the NAHB survey, it is no surprise that the number of bedrooms buyers prefer is somewhat correlated with age. Three bedrooms was the most popular choice among the three older age groups, but while 47 percent of Millennials want four bedrooms, that choice drops off sharply for Boomers and especially seniors.  



When it comes to the number of bathrooms preferred, a majority across all generations want 2 or 2.5 bathrooms. The preference for 2 or 2.5 bathrooms rises with age. While 59 percent of Millennials want 2 or 2.5 bathroom, the share increases to 73 percent among Seniors.

Among the generations, Millennials are the most likely to choose three or more bathrooms - 27 percent, compared to 26 percent of Gen X'ers, 17 percent of Boomers, and 15 percent of Seniors.

Finally, Millennials are most likely to prefer a home with a basement - even if they have to pay more for it.  Seventy-three percent of Millennials had that preference with 37 percent wanting a full basement at a cost of $45,000. The majority of seniors and Boomers would prefer a basementless home.