Purpose: The purpose of this study is threefold. First, to provide a taxonomy of innovations in the housing sector. Second, to create a coherent framework that includes the mechanisms that stimulate and hinder the adoption of innovation in the housing sector. Third, to develop propositions for future innovation adoption research. Design/methodology/approach: A search in Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, Elsevier’ Scopus and the ARCOM database, followed by ‘snowballing’ as a backward search technique, revealed 94 scientific studies about innovation adoption in the housing sector. These studies were used to conduct a systematic narrative literature review about innovation adoption in the housing sector. Findings: This study presents the state of knowledge about the adoption of innovation in the housing sector. Based on the unit of analysis by the studies included in our review, we present a taxonomy of housing innovation and we conclude that, typical for low-tech industries, no radical, discontinuous innovations were reported in the field of housing. Based on the data set of this review, a coherent framework has been developed, which includes four categories of determinants and underlying variables. Subsequently, 21 propositions have been deduced, which reflect the key mechanisms affecting the adoption of innovation in housing. Originality/value: This paper is the first in which the various innovation adoption mechanisms for housing projects are integrated in a coherent innovation adoption framework. This framework not only provides an explanatory overview about innovation adoption in the housing sector but also provides insight to managers how to increase the chances to get their innovations adopted in the housing sector.