Diversity is one of the United States’ greatest assets—and that’s true even in home design! Especially in home design, in fact. From coast to coast, the way we like to live varies enormously. Sitting in a covered patio sipping cocktails after a refreshing dip in the pool, Texans may wonder what kind of house their Delaware compatriots live in. Are they chilling in their master rooms? Cowering in their storm shelters? Swinging on their gazebos?
Our data team took a deep dive into our 1.5 million active listings of single-family homes for sale and parsed out over 200 individual features from their listing descriptions. From there, we finalized the top five features and picked the one with real local flavor.
Let’s take a look at some features that leap out:
Kansas: Wet bar
Alcohol laws in Kansas are among the strictest in the U.S., which may explain why 7% of its homes currently on the market have a wet bar. Remarkably enough, the state banned the sale of liquor “by the drink”until 1987 (it’s still illegal in 10 counties), pretty much outlawing public bars—so it makes perfect sense to have one at home. Invite your friends! And you can be sure that everybody will know your name.
Oklahoma: Storm shelter
With an average of 55 tornadoes tearing through Oklahoma every year, storm shelters are an important feature. Our data show that 6% of homes in Oklahoma are marketed as having one. Why not more? Well, the cost of adding a storm shelter to an existing home starts at $2,500 and can exceed $20,000—which is not so financially appealing, considering that the median home price statewide is only $168,000.
Michigan: Pole barn
Pole barns are, well, barns that use large poles to provide vertical structural support. Pioneered in the 1930s, pole barns are still common in rural areas because they’re quick and cheap to build. You can find them in 5% of Michigan listings.
Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama: Traditional design
A love of history and tradition runs strong in the South. In Mississippi and Georgia, a typical home features elegant formal dining spaces with grand oak tables, antique chairs, and French linens. In Alabama, crown molding gives a luxurious and gracious feel to ordinary living spaces.
Montana and Utah: Vaulted ceiling
Inspired by ancient cathedrals and basilicas, vaulted ceilings have been trending in residential homes for quite some time, especially in Utah (10% of listings), Montana (7%), and other Western states. Vaulted ceilings are a dramatic feature, creating space and allowing tons of natural light to come in. On the downside, keep an eye on your energy bills: Heat rises, and the winters are long.
In the wilds of Alaska, a wood stove offers an off-the-grid option to beat the cold (5%). In urban Delaware, on the other hand, gas fireplaces (9%) warm people’s toes and hearts—no muss, no fuss. And Vermonters choose stone fireplaces (6%) to warm up rustic homes.
references: Yuqing Pan, Housing Trends eNewsletter, Realtor.com