You literally never know what you're getting into in remodeling. Any bit of knowledge about how consumers and housing stock are changing makes planning individual jobs and overall company strategy easier.
For example, 40 percent of consumers are willing to own a house without a living room, according to the 2003 National Association of Home Builders consumer preference survey. The study included 2,923 respondents and looked at preferences by ethnicity for the first time in the survey's 24-year history. Sometimes the differences are substantial - only 22 percent of blacks said they would forgo a living room - and that's important to know when serving an increasingly diversified consumer base.
The top five most popular kitchen features, according to the survey: a walk-in pantry, an island work area, solid surface countertops, built-in microwave oven and specialized storage. In the bathroom, the top five features named were: a linen closet, an exhaust fan, a separate shower enclosure, water temperature control and a whirlpool tub. When it came to specialty areas, a laundry room actually preceded a dining room, followed by home office, den/library, sunroom and media room. Outside, consumers ranked exterior lighting first, followed by a front porch and then by a deck at the rear of the home.
For more information presented at the NAHB's Spring 2004 Construction Forecast Conference, visit www.nahb.org and click on Resources, then Economic and Housing Data, then Forecasts and Economic Impact.