New Report by The Demand Institute Reveals America’s Top 10 Unfulfilled Housing Needs and Desires

  • Many Americans are not fully satisfied with their homes and neighborhoods. The gap between what is important and what people actually have is the “Satisfaction Gap.”
  • Both unmet desires, like updated kitchens, and basic needs, like affordable housing, make the list.
  • Energy efficiency is the top unmet housing desire in the U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 3, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — The ideal home and neighborhood is elusive for many American households today, concludes a new report by The Demand Institute. Americans believe in the importance of energy efficient homes; they desire updated kitchens and ample storage space. As for more basic housing needs, families want safer neighborhoods and more affordability. However, there’s a substantial gap between what Americans have and what they say they need or want—the “Satisfaction Gap.”

The top 10 unmet housing needs and desires are examined in The Housing Satisfaction Gap: What People Want, but Don’t Have, a report released today by The Demand Institute, a non-advocacy, non-profit think tank jointly operated by The Conference Board and Nielsen. They are ranked according to the size of the existing Satisfaction Gap, which is the disparity between the proportion of households who consider a factor important and the proportion satisfied in that regard by their current home. The research, which surveyed more than 10,000 households, reveals that Americans see a lot of room for improvement when it comes to their homes.

“Our findings shed light on Americans’ priorities and what they will be looking for when they move or renovate their homes,” said Louise Keely, president of The Demand Institute and senior vice president at Nielsen. “While some of the unmet needs appearing in the top 10 are more discretionary in nature, we find that basic housing challenges remain an issue for many: Older Americans are living in homes that aren’t suitable for aging, renters are spending an excessive percentage of their income on housing, while one in five households is concerned about declining neighborhood safety.”

According to the report, Americans plan to increase their spending on home improvement in the next three years. A priority may be energy efficiency. More than 70 percent of households in the United States consider it an important housing need, but only 35 percent feel their homes are very energy efficient. Additional aspirational desires landing on the top10 list include updated kitchens, more storage space and privacy from neighbors.

“In order to meet these desires, we find that more movers will seek larger homes,” said Jeremy Burbank, vice president at The Demand Institute and Nielsen. “It’s important to note that despite the hit many Americans took during the Great Recession, when home prices fell by nearly 40 percent, the majority still view homes as solid investments. The Satisfaction Gap here is being driven by renters, who aspire to home ownership and would like to begin building equity.”

The Housing Satisfaction Gap: What People Want, but Don’t Have is part of a broader initiative led by The Demand Institute to understand where future home and community demand is headed. It is one product of an 18-month research program that included in-depth interviews with 10,000 U.S. consumers, analysis of 2,200 cities and towns in America and projections of the national and regional U.S. housing markets.

Download the full report from The Demand Institute’s website:

About The Demand Institute

The Demand Institute illuminates how consumer demand is evolving around the world. We help government and business leaders align investments to where consumer demand is headed across industries, countries and markets. A non-advocacy, non-profit organization and a division of The Conference Board, The Demand Institute holds 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in the United States and is jointly operated by The Conference Board and Nielsen. For more information, please visit

About The Conference Board

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status in the United States. For more information, visit:

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related properties. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York City and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit

For further information contact:

Lauren Bercarich
908 276 4344 x202

Ralph Piscitelli
1 212 339 0441

Next articleOctober 2014 Residential Permit Statistics