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Debunking new home myths: Erie Insurance survey reveals what's hot and what's not in new homes

Home trend survey reveals features homeowners would want - and not want - if building a brand-new home today

ERIE, Pa., Jan. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Think granite countertops are passé? Think again – they're almost twice as preferred as quartz. That's just one of the findings of a national survey of U.S. homeowners conducted on behalf of Erie Insurance. Erie Insurance commissioned the survey to gain fresh insights about homeowner preferences on a wide range of topics including design and finish preferences, aging in place design features, technology, energy efficiency and more.

Think you know the latest trends and what homeowners love in their homes? Think again!

There's been some buzz over the past few years about the rising popularity of quartz, but the Erie Insurance survey found granite is still the preferred choice. When homeowners were asked which countertop material they would want if building a new home today, 40% said they would definitely want granite, compared with only 23% who said they would definitely want quartz.

"As a company in the business of protecting people's homes and belongings, we're always looking around the corner to see what's next so that we can continue to meet the needs of today's homeowners," said Bob Buckel, vice president, Erie Insurance.

Other survey findings include:

  • Freestanding soaking tubs are seen as a hot trend, but only a fifth of homeowners (21%) would definitely want a soaking tub if they were building a new house today, compared with 34% who definitely would not. But almost half (45%) are on the fence, saying they might want one.
  • You'd think the convenience of having two sinks in the master bath would be a no-brainer but that's not the case. While more than half of homeowners (54%) would definitely want two sinks, a fair number are undecided (33% might want them), and 13% definitely would not want them.
  • The U.S Census Bureau projects older adults to outnumber children by 2035. The survey asked about universal design elements and found only about a quarter of all respondents (26%) would definitely want universal design features. The percentage is only somewhat higher (34%) among homeowners between the ages of 51 and 60. 
  • Security systems with security cameras are significantly more coveted in the Northeast than in the Midwest. More than half of Northeasterners (54%) say they would definitely want this feature, compared with only 28% of Midwesterners. Overall, 44% of homeowners would definitely want a security system with security cameras.
  • When it comes to energy efficient features, about a third of all respondents (32%) would definitely want solar panels on a new home, but the feature is much more coveted by men than women (41% versus 28%, respectively). There were also significant gender differences regarding preferences for tankless water heaters. 41% of men would definitely want a tankless water heater compared with 32% of women.
  • Electric vehicle production is on the rise, but most homeowners aren't ready to plan for it when it comes to building a new house. Only 6% of homeowners say they definitely would want an electric vehicle charging station if they were building a new home today, while more than half (55%) definitely would not want one.

Buckel said one troubling finding was when asked whether their homeowners insurance policy included guaranteed replacement cost coverage (or a similar loss settlement – enhanced replacement cost in North Carolina) four in 10 (42%) said they didn't know. 

"If something happens to your home this coverage allows you to rebuild it back to its previous size and specifications," said Buckel. "Guaranteed Replacement Cost is a coverage that a lot of our customers really appreciate. We work with them, so they keep us up-to-date on home improvements over $5,000 – a requirement for Guaranteed Replacement Cost."

"One of the key takeaways from our perspective is that homeowners would benefit by talking with their insurance agent to make sure they have the proper coverage," said Buckel. "For many people, their home is their single biggest financial investment, and the last thing they would want is to find out too late that they don't have enough coverage to rebuild it."

When asked to write in what they would want in a new home, features ran the gamut from the practical to the luxurious. Some wanted more storage space and extra rooms, while others wanted luxuries like heated floors and heated driveways.  Some were looking for spa-like features such as saunas, tanning beds and relaxation rooms. One person wanted a koi pond while another wanted a wine cellar.  Two wanted safe rooms. One wanted a feature that's probably not available for sale from any new home builder: an in-house chef!

Methodology
This survey of 500 U.S. homeowners ages 28 – 60 was conducted by Falls Communications on behalf of Erie Insurance from March 22 through March 26, 2019. While different sample sizes have different statistical margins of error, the estimated margin of error for any question with a sample size of 500 is +/-4.5%. Additional methodology details are available upon request.

About Erie Insurance 
According to A.M. Best Company, Erie Insurance Group, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, is the 9th largest homeowners insurer and 12th largest automobile insurer in the United States based on direct premiums written and the 16th largest property/casualty insurer in the United States based on total lines net premium written. The Group, rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, has more than 5 million policies in force and operates in 12 states and the District of Columbia. Erie Insurance Group is a FORTUNE 500 company.

News releases and more information about Erie Insurance Group are available at www.erieinsurance.com.

Erie Insurance. (PRNewsFoto/Erie Insurance) (PRNewsfoto/Erie Insurance)
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SOURCE Erie Insurance Group