What's old is new again, according to a National Association of Home Builders report combining findings from its 2016 Builder Practices Survey and a recent Houzz study, both of which identify current trends in new single-family kitchens.
Granite countertops (64%), wood cabinets (85%) and stainless steel (79%) appliances are still hot, according to NAHB data. Range-cooktops (97%), dishwashers (92%), microwave ovens (84%), garbage disposals (84%) and refrigerator-freezers (65%) are the most commonly provided appliances.
- Among the least popular kitchen choices were solid-surface (9%) and engineered-stone (9%) countertops, laminate cabinetry (5%), multicolored cabinets (6%) and white appliances (4%). Elevators (2%), trash compactors (4%), standby generators (8%), hot water dispensers (8%) and water softeners (13%) were the least likely features to be included in new homes.
Homebuilders are sticking with old favorites like granite and stainless steel when designing kitchens with value-added features. However, homeowner tastes might be changing. A report last month from Zillow found that monochromatic cabinets were waning in popularity and that tuxedo cabinets — those painted in complimentary colors — were on the rise. The real estate website confirmed that homeowners prefer stainless steel appliances but that they are increasingly covering them up to move away from the industrial look. In a turnaround from what homebuilders seem to be banking on, Zillow also found that homeowners were growing tired of granite and increasingly opting for quartz, marble and butcher block countertops.
Kitchens are the gathering place in most homes. Accordingly, a July report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies found that kitchen and bath remodels are the most common improvements that homeowners make. CNBC said that kitchen-related and other remodel types were so popular these days that they threaten to exceed new construction in the next year. In fact, by mid-2017, spending on home remodels and renovations should reach $321 billion, according to the HJCHS. One of the drivers behind this burst of remodeling activity is an increase in home equity. Gains have put 38 million homeowners in a 20% equity position, which makes financing these sorts of improvements easier, CNBC reports.
In its annual Cost vs. Value Index, Remodeling magazine reports that the average return on the cost of a remodeling project in 2015 was 64.4% if the home is sold within a year, compared to 62% a year earlier and the second-highest reported return since the recession. General kitchen remodels in which features are upgraded but the plan isn't overhauled was among the project types reporting an increase in return value in 2015.