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Living Rooms Are Losing Out as Homes Grow, Surveys Find

February 25, 2001|Inman News Features

ATLANTA — The living room is dead. That's what the latest surveys by the National Assn. of Home Builders are saying.

When asked which rooms in the house folks would be willing to give up for extra space elsewhere or to save dollars, most buyers still want that formal dining room and fancy kitchen.

"Many home buyers do not think it's a necessity to have a living room," said Gopal Ahluwalia, director of research for the National Assn. of Home Builders.

"Nearly half of the people said they would rather have a much larger family room. We think in the next five to 10 years the average home will lose the living room," Ahluwalia predicted at this weekend's NAHB's convention in Atlanta.

His findings on home buyer preferences are part of a new nationwide survey just completed by the builders' association.

Home builders hope that the information will tell them which features will attract the most buyers and which of the costly items in an average new home can be deleted.

The survey showed that buyers would rather have a laundry room, extra storage and that old time dining room than maintain a separate living room in their new homes.

"They still want a larger home with lots of space," Ahluwalia said. "They want upscale features like high ceilings."

Also high on every home buyer's "must have" list: three or more bathrooms, at least a double garage, and walk-in kitchen pantries.

"One of the common complaints from homeowners is the lack of storage space," Ahluwalia said.

So with all those extra closets, laundry rooms and pantries, don't expect houses to get smaller even if the living room has passed away.

The NAHB survey shows that the median-sized home is now approaching 2,100 square feet.

"More than 50% of people said they would prefer a bigger home with fewer amenities," Ahluwalia said.

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