Waterfront, ranch style among picks in survey on ideal home

Contemplating the perfect home is a common daydream among both renters and homeowners. A recent survey by the home design site Porch.com found that waterfront properties and a ranch style home were the most commonly desired qualities of an ideal home, although other preferences varied widely.

The survey sought to determine the most sought-after home features, but also compared tastes between American and European respondents. The poll included 335 people from the United States and 344 from Europe.

Both groups gave similar responses to their preferred geographical locations, with 50.9 percent of Europeans and 50.8 percent of Americans preferring a suburban neighborhood. Thirty-one percent of Americans and 28.5 percent of European respondents said their ideal home would be in a rural area, while 20.6 percent of Europeans and 18.2 percent of Americans favored an urban area.

A total of 51.9 percent of European respondents said they would like to live in a waterfront home. The next most popular qualities were a home with a view (38.6 percent), greenbelt (24.2 percent), or raised elevation or mountains (20.9 percent).

Americans had similar tastes, with 44.8 percent saying their ideal home would be on the water, 33.7 percent saying it would have a view, and 28.4 percent saying they would like a raised elevation or mountain home. However, only 9.9 percent described their ideal home as being in a greenbelt.

Respondents from the United States put more emphasis on privacy, with 23 percent saying their ideal home would be in a gated community and 21.8 percent saying it would be on a cul-de-sac. Just 5.5 percent of Europeans named a gated community as a preferred feature, while 3 percent cited a cul-de sac.

Over half of all respondents—53.6 percent—said their ideal home would be new construction. On average, Europeans preferred a three bedroom, two bathroom home encompassing 1,589 square feet. Americans preferred larger homes, with the average ideal home being 4,982 square feet with four bedrooms and three bathrooms.

American respondents also preferred a larger lot, wishing for 10.6 acres while the average European said they would be satisfied with 0.9 acres. However, only 40 percent of Americans and 35.9 percent of Europeans correctly identified how large an acre was.

Ranch style homes were the top choice for home style among both Americans and Europeans. Americans' second favorite choice was farmhouse style, followed by Craftsman and Mediterranean. Cottage style was the second favorite choice among Europeans, followed by Mediterranean and farmhouse.

Brick was the most favored choice for an exterior building material among Americans, with 27 percent picking it. This was followed by stone (18.6 percent), wood (14.1 percent), and vinyl (11.4 percent). A total of 29.3 percent favored composite shingle for a roofing material, with 14.3 percent preferring tile and 14 percent choosing slate.

More than one-third of respondents—36.5 percent—chose stone as their favored exterior material, followed by wood at 22.5 percent and brick at 17.9 percent. Wood was the top roofing choice, with 24.6 percent picking this material, followed by 20.9 percent who chose tile and 12.9 percent who favored composite shingle.

In nine of 13 categories of preferred home features, Americans were more likely than Europeans to say their ideal home would feature the amenity. Europeans were more likely than Americans to say their ideal home would include solar panels, a swimming pool, a library, or a sauna.

Central air conditioning was the most preferred home feature among Americans, with 78.8 percent of respondents saying they would want this in their dream home. This was followed by a deck (68.4 percent), laundry room (66.6 percent), and finished basement (60.3 percent). Europeans were most likely to want solar panels (64.2 percent), a swimming pool (58.2 percent), a library (54.3 percent), and central air conditioning (47.2 percent).

For bedroom features, Americans were more than twice as likely as Europeans to want a walk-in closet for the master bedroom. A total of 76.4 percent of U.S. respondents said they preferred this feature, while only 37 percent of Europeans felt the same.

Other popular features among Americans were an en suite master bath (58.2 percent), master bedroom balcony (44.5 percent), and first floor master bedroom suite (35.2 percent). Europeans were most likely to favor a master bedroom balcony (53.3 percent), followed by an en suite master bath (39.1 percent), and walk-in closet.

Granite was the favored choice for kitchen countertops, chosen by 42.1 percent of Americans and 33.2 percent of Europeans. Marble was the second pick for both groups, with 28.7 percent of Americans and 17.4 percent of Europeans choosing it.

For kitchen flooring, 30.1 percent of Americans preferred tile while 15.5 percent favored wood and 12.8 percent chose marble. Europeans were more partial to marble, with 20.7 percent saying this would be their ideal flooring material. This choice narrowly beat out stone, the top choice of 20.2 percent of respondents.

Hardwood was the preferred choice for other flooring in the home, with 49 percent of Americans and 41.6 percent of Europeans saying this was their top choice. Among Americans, other popular choices included carpeting (29.3 percent), tile (19.7 percent), and bamboo (15.2 percent). Europeans were more likely to favor stone (17 percent), laminate (16.4 percent0, and manufactured wood (15 percent).

In the bedroom, 40 percent of Americans favored carpeting as a flooring choice while 30.4 percent wanted wood. Europeans had similar tastes, although wood was the top choice at 35.7 percent while 14.9 percent favored carpeting.

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