A fast-growing global population, increasing urbanization, and an increasing flow of people with different building cultural backgrounds bring material use in the housing sector into focus. The aim of this study is to identify material preferences in the building environment in cities and to determine if the building cultural background impacts those preferences. The data in this study consisted of responses from two groups of dwellers in Norway, including immigrants from countries where wood is an uncommon building material and native Norwegians from a building culture where wood is common. We found that the most preferred materials were often the same as the most common materials currently used in city buildings. Only small differences were found between the two groups of dwellers that were studied. Most differences were related to concerns about material choice in general and where individuals wanted to live. Respondents who preferred city living preferred commonly used city materials, such as concrete and steel. For cladding materials, stone/bricks were the most preferred. However, stained or painted wood was one of the most preferred, even though it is not commonly used in city buildings.