The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) recently released the results from its latest Home Buyer Preference Survey, an annual market research study powered by Avid Ratings that offers valuable insight into what Canadians want in their homes.
The survey, which is in its seventh year, is a useful tool for builders, renovators, designers, and DIYers alike to find out what buyers are looking for in a home, including what they’re willing to trade-off to get what they want and what they’re willing to pay for those features.
Last year, 18,838 home buyers across 5 provinces were surveyed on more than 50 in-depth areas of home design, building features, buying preferences, and demographics. If 2022 is the year you’ve decided to start your dream renovation, the results are pretty helpful – especially for those who are trying to decide where they’ll get the highest return on investment.
So, are soaker tubs in and stand-up showers out? What do people think about butcher block countertops? Is it necessary to have a fireplace in the living room? In this post, we dive into the top home design trends coming out of CHBA’s Home Buyer Preference Survey and give you some insight into what to prioritize for your next renovation.
Energy Efficiency, All Around
Now more than ever, Canadians are showing a strong preference towards efficiency and sustainability features in their homes. In fact, home energy efficiency features took home four of the Top 10 rated features in CHBA’s 2021 Home Buyer Preference Survey.
Number one on that list: High efficiency windows. And large, expansive ones at that. Large windows took the tenth slot on the top ten list, with over 80% of respondents noting they either really want or must have them in their home.
Of course, it’s not hard to see why these two features ranked so high. High efficiency windows can help you save up to 20% of your home’s energy loss. And large windows provide a desirable connection to the outdoors and all its natural beauty, while also allowing ample sunlight to shine through, which can help you save on heating costs. Who doesn’t want to save money while basking in the day’s natural light?
Other key home energy efficiency features on the Top 10 list were energy efficient appliances and Heat Recovery Ventilator/Energy Recovery Ventilator (HRV/ERV) air exchange systems.
Home appliances are ever-evolving and they’ve significantly improved in efficiency over the past few decades. That’s why energy efficient appliances are a popular feature among today’s home buyers – they can help save energy and money on utility bills for the same function as older appliances. Plus, energy efficient dishwashers and washing machines can also help conserve water. If you’re renovating and due to replace your old, inefficient appliances, consider energy efficient models to help reduce your home’s energy bills and increase appeal for the next owners.
Energy efficient appliances in Net Zero Home renovation by RenoMark member RDC Fine Homes – Whistler, BC
HRV/ERVs help enhance indoor air quality and minimize heating and cooling costs by retaining heat and optimizing interior moisture. Using fans, HRV/ERVs maintain a balanced airflow inside your home, while filtering stale air out. As more people spend time working and learning from home, it’s no surprise that Canadians are prioritizing their family’s health and comfort through advanced, energy efficient ventilation systems.
Finally, an overall energy efficient home ranked third on the Top 10 desired features list in CHBA’s 2021 Home Buyer Preference Survey. If you own an older home, this information may compel you to take on an energy efficient renovation. The best part is you can often preserve your home’s character while modernizing its systems to bring it to its optimal energy performance.
While renovating your home to optimize for energy efficiency may involve a significant initial investment, there are plenty of financing incentives that can help you reduce the cost of that investment. For instance, financing tools like Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) can help homeowners upgrade their home’s energy performance or install renewable energy systems with no money down, but rather as a loan repaid on a property’s municipal tax bill over time. Further, the federal government’sGreener Homes Grant can be stacked on top of your local municipal incentives.Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) also provides a directory of energy efficient programs for homes, including retrofits and financial incentives.
Plus, there’s always the added benefit of lowered energy consumption because of your home’s improved energy performance!
Overall, undertaking an energy efficiency renovation on your home is an investment that delivers a multitude of immediate benefits, and it can also increase the value of your home when you decide to sell. If you’re ready to take the plunge with a fully Net Zero or Net Zero Ready Home, CHBA has recently launched its CHBA Net Zero Home Labelling Program for Renovations, which already involves several RenoMark members across Canada who can give you options for getting your home to Net Zero either all at once or with smaller renovations over time.
Learn more about upgrading your home for energy efficiency or, if you’re ready to start your renovation, find a list of RenoMark renovators with a Qualified Net Zero Renovator designation at netzerohome.com.
Kitchens (Still) Reign Supreme
They don’t say the kitchen is the heart of the home for nothing. Kitchen features continue to be the highest rated category in past years of CHBA’s Home Buyer Preference Survey. Along with energy efficient appliances, kitchen islands and open-concept kitchens were rated highly desired features amongst Canadian home buyers.
Kitchen island by RenoMark member OakWood – Ottawa, ON
Canadians’ affinity towards kitchen islands has persisted for over a decade, most recently ranking among the top five home features overall in both 2020 and 2021. In 2021, nearly 85% of home buyers listed a kitchen island as a “must have” or feature they “really want” in their home.
It’s no surprise that kitchen islands are so popular amongst today’s home buyers – they offer additional storage and functionality, they promote better flow of traffic than peninsulas, and they’re the perfect informal space for loved ones to enjoy each other’s company over a tasty meal. That’s why home builders across Canada have incorporated islands in many kitchens, sometimes adding unique features like bright colours or bold textures to boost visual interest. We’ve even seen some builders incorporate two islands in one kitchen!
Open-concept kitchen by RenoMark member My House Design Build – Surrey, BC
Further, open-concept kitchens with unobstructed views of other living spaces make them that much more appealing to spend time in. Parents value the ability to keep a watchful eye on their children, and serial entertainers love the idea of prepping hors d’oeuvres while engaging in group conversation. And since they create the illusion of more space, open-concept floorplans are perfect for small and large kitchens alike.
Closets, Closets, Closets
Canadians value storage. The ability to walk into a closet and see all your clothes, accessories, and shoes neatly organized one season at a time makes the daily struggle of wondering how to dress for the weather much easier. Plus, with so many design options available, including funky hardware, accent lighting, functional cubbies, sleek shelving, and smart features, homeowners are enjoying the benefits of getting dressed in their own personalized boutique.
Walk-in closet by RenoMark member Van Manna Homes – Calgary, AB
Simultaneously, linen closets are a big deal for Canadian home buyers. 51.84% of respondents in CHBA’s 2021 Home Buyer Preference Survey rated linen closets as a “must-have” feature in their home. Of course, linen closets can be used for more than just housing linens – they’re a great place to store bedding, towels, tablecloths, cleaning supplies, toys, and more. Well-organized linen closets can make tasks like changing your bedding, cleaning, or finding your Friday night board game much more efficient, so it’s no wonder they’re highly desired features in today’s homes.
Not One, But Two Car Garages
New to the Top 10 list in the 2021 Home Buyer Preference Survey is the desire for a two-car garage. Why? Since the pandemic has led many to work or learn from home, buyers are considering larger properties in suburban or rural areas. Unfortunately, these areas are often less walkable or transit-friendly than urban centers, which can spark the need for multiple cars. And with that, comes the need for additional parking – queue the double car garage.
But double car garages aren’t always used solely for parking. The pandemic has also ignited people’s desire for new hobbies, like refinishing vintage furniture, restoring an old motorcycle, or taking up kayaking. Homeowners are also interested in using the additional space to store tools, snow shovels, bikes, and more.
So, even if one car is sufficient for most families, many are interested in the added space a double car garage can provide for passion projects or storage.
Double car garage by RenoMark member Aquarian Renovations – Edmonton, AB
If you’re looking for more detailed insight into what Canadians are looking for in a home in 2022, order your copy of CHBA’s 2021 Home Buyer Preference Survey at chba.ca/survey.