North Texas Homebuyers Are Willing To Splurge on Kitchens

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(Photos courtesy Ashton Woods)

It won’t surprise anyone who looks at a lot of renovated homes and new construction — among the splurges DFW homebuyers are willing to make, the kitchen reigns supreme, a survey of homebuyers revealed.

Ashton Woods, one of the nation’s largest private homebuilders, commissioned a national survey of homebuyers, and while Dallas-Fort Worth buyers tended to fall in line with national trends in some places, they bucked the trends in others.

For instance, those surveyed indicated they would prioritize luxury features — like high-end appliances and pricier finishes — over other areas in the house.

“We like we like to entertain, we like to have people over, and the kitchen is the heart of the home,” said Nikki James, who is the studio manager for the Ashton Woods Dallas Studio. “And they’re putting money into that space with things like luxury appliances like Jenair, and putting in quartz countertops, and spending a little bit more money on your light fixtures in your kitchen, where you know it’s more eye-catching and appealing whenever guests are coming in your home.”

People are willing to spend money on their kitchen islands, too. James said she is a fan of a well-placed kitchen island, where people can still congregate while you cook, but are out of the chef’s work triangle.

“We really think about those things, and where we place the island so that it can still be a place together without interfering with your work triangle in your kitchen,” she said. “But I’m all for the island, the larger the island the better.”

And those islands are part of that luxury spend, too.

“That’s one of the big things that people spend money on, either putting that island in a different countertop finish than the rest of the kitchen, and putting more money on the island countertop versus the perimeter, or maybe a different color,” James said. “And then also just extending the perimeter cabinet so that there is more workspace so that if you do have people gathering on your island they’re not in your cooking area.”

The survey also revealed that Dallasites are willing to spend more — substantially more — for bonus room space. On average, they were willing to pay between $10,000 and $20,000 extra. Nationally, respondents indicated that on average they’d be willing to spend up to $10,000.

That difference, James said, may come from a major structural difference in most Dallas homes — a lack of basements. She said that at the Dallas design studio, her coworkers were saying they understood that statistic.

“We were having a conversation about why people in Dallas are going to pay a little bit more about this room versus other areas of the country,” she said. “I feel like. personally. I lived in the Midwest. You know we don’t have basements here in Dallas. It’s really important to have that extra room and that extra space, whether that be an additional study or a game room.”

The survey also indicated that Dallas respondents were more likely to be interested in things like hidden rooms, media rooms, and wine cellars, favoring home gyms and wine cellars the most.

“Having that media room that you can send your children to watch a movie, and then there’s always the great mystique of a hidden room, too,” James said of the results. “And who doesn’t want to have a hidden wine cellar or even a hidden study where you really can shut the doors and your children don’t know your home?”

The survey also showed that Dallas respondents were more frustrated with their master bedroom spaces, too.

“I think people are spending more time at home — even working at home — and they kind of want that retreat, a separate place that they can go to get away from the business of life,” James said. “It’s nice to have that space where you can still go and relax and have it to yourself and have that about peace and quiet.”

“I mean we’re seeing people asking for a little sitting area or maybe putting in a coffee bar in the master bedroom —  just a little bit more luxury in there, but also just a little more space for personal time.”

The survey also found that Dallasites were willing to have dedicated spaces for their pets, and also were willing to pay more for a builder that offers plenty of opportunities for design personalization.

Nationally, the survey may reveal some changing opinions regarding finishes, too, with 30 percent of respondents saying they prefer the natural wood kitchen cabinets over all-white cabinets, which garnered 17 percent of the vote. James said she and other Ashton Woods designers were excited about the changing opinions in regards to finishes, too.

“For me, it’s refreshing and reassuring to see —  it’s something that we’ve been talking about as designers here, seeing that white kitchens are kind of fading out,” she said. “People are wanting to go back to the warmer finishes and embracing the high grade and high texture characteristics and cabinets again. I thought it was refreshing.”

She said she’s also excited to see people embracing new finishes, too.

“We’re so excited that finally, everything from plumbing fixtures to hardware and everything has embraced the brushed brass,” she said. “But in the survey, people are still really turning towards the flat nickel, which is also a change, if you think back because we were at oil rubbed bronze for so long.”

Other potential trend changes on the horizon the survey says are coming include:

  • Future homebuyers said yes to hardwood flooring and said no to carpet.
  • The shower-tub combo in the master suite is getting the boot, and being replaced with more luxurious options, such as a walk-in shower and no bathtub or a separate bathtub and shower.
  • Participants prefer rustic wood elements found in the ever-popular farmhouse style but are saying ‘no thanks’ to industrial elements.
  • For metal finishes, homebuyers continue to want brushed nickel. This is a clear example of buyers still running behind the new satin brass trend that Ashton Woods has been seeing among its homebuyers.
  • Participants preferred transitional and rustic interior design styles, followed by traditional, farmhouse and contemporary, while ditching the bohemian, coastal and Scandinavian styles.
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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson lives in a 1961 Fox and Jacobs home with her husband, a second-grader, and Conrad Bain the dog. If she won the lottery, she'd by an E. Faye Jones home. She's taken home a few awards for her writing, including a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Online News Association, the Education Writers Association, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and the Society of Professional Journalists. She doesn't like lima beans or the word moist.

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