Let’s take a journey, for a moment, into the land of unabashed assumptions about what women and men want in their homes. Conventional wisdom, seasoned with sexism, has it that women cook and own an overabundance of clothes, and that they, therefore, value big, beautiful kitchens and dreamily spacious walk-in closets. Men, on the other hand, do not cook. They tinker. And they, therefore, are supposed to value spaces like garages and basements.
Now let's return to reality, where the desires of men and women are more complicated—and less clearly dictated by gender norms. The Wall Street Journal took a closer look at how men and women assess real estate and found that the stereotypes just didn't hold up. A 2013 survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors showed, for instance, that single men are more likely to prioritize a deluxe kitchen than single women:
When asked what features were “very important” in the survey, 32% of single men, compared with 21% of single women cited new kitchen appliances. Similarly, granite countertops were a must-have for 24% of men, but only 11% of women, and 19% of men wanted a kitchen island, compared with 8% of women.
The survey also found that more single men value a walk-in closet in the master bedroom than women—38 percent of men named the feature “very important” as opposed to just 29 percent of women.
And what about basements? Turns out, both genders value the extra space about equally, though men tend to be more likely to want attics—“13% cited them as key, compared with 7% of women,” writes the Journal.
This is far from the first time realty reality has upended certain gender stereotypes. For example, you know that assumption that a single guy may be more likely to buy a house than a single woman? Well, data shows that single women are more often new homebuyers than single men—and have been for a long time. According to a 2013 article in the Huffington Post, “single women have outnumbered single men in homeownership every single year since 1982, the earliest date of available U.S. Census data.”
Sure, there will always be men who want man caves and women who long for that top-of-the-line cooktop. And, as the Journal points out, some realtors still report the traditional split in requested amenities. But assuming a person’s priorities on gender alone is about as passé as wood paneling and shag carpeting.