U.S. women with children want bigger family rooms and better equipped kitchens, and place greater value towards wellness features, according to a new survey.
The survey, titled ‘America at Home,’ looked at how 3,000 men and women — with and without children — aged 25 to 74 prioritized what they wanted in a home. The survey was done in three waves, and the one covered in this article was conducted in October 2022.
The gender breakdown was provided to MarketWatch by the creators of the survey for International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8.
Homeownership is regarded as a key part of the American dream, but with a low number of homes for sale on the market, buyers are facing limited options.
Existing-home inventory is still tight, as many homeowners are choosing not to sell and give up their ultra-low mortgage rates.
While new home construction is rising, on the other hand, it’s still an expensive option. The median price of a new home was over $400,000 in January.
To entice buyers, homebuilders are being more targeted, from rate buy-downs to lowering prices. Catering to specific needs of men and women is another attempt to lure buyers.
Darian Wagner, an architect and designer at Dahlin Group, told MarketWatch, said the researchers created a “target family” with a wife, husband and two small children, and “pinpointed how the house can actually participate in the caregiving for the family,”
Some 8% of men considered garages as an important space in their home, while 0% of women thought the same, the survey found.
The research also highlighted how the presence of children had more of an impact on preferences on housing layouts and space, rather than gender, specifically when it came to the “most important room of the house.”
For instance, women — and men — with kids prioritized the family room and kitchen as the most important rooms of the house. But women put a bigger emphasis on these rooms, with 48% of respondents indicating that the family room is the most important, versus 41% of male respondents. For the kitchen, 20% of women with kids considered it a priority, versus 13% of men with kids.
Single women and men without kids on the other hand both placed a big emphasis on the primary bedroom being the most important room in the house.
The survey also found that women with kids prioritized a kitchen that was well-equipped, and a “wellness-spa bath.”
Men considered conserving energy, and having a minimal impact on the home, as a priority.
In contrast, women desired private outdoor spaces or gardens, a home that conserves water, and their want to eliminate chemicals from their home.
Having a deeper understanding of what families want helps design spaces that make a home more attractive, Wagner said.
“You can feel it when you walk into that house and a woman’s standpoint will just be like, yeah, it works for me,” she added.
Nearly all (93%) of the survey respondents associate home as a safe space, followed by a place of comfort (91%) and a place of relaxation (87%).
To embed those concerns, Wagner said that the company tried to design a place specifically alleviating these concerns.
“How do you, as a designer, create a feeling to provide a safe home?” Wagner said.
What if, for instance, a husband travels a lot for work? As a spouse, Wagner said, “I’m always, like, who’s at the door, and I don’t know if I really want them to see in.” So she asks herself: “how do I create a setting where I feel safe when he’s not home when he’s on travel for work?”
“So it’s really interesting when you start thinking about those things,” she added. “We can actually design with that empathy in mind for how the home can function better, and care for the people inhabiting it.”