Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What Home Buyers Like the Most

1. What single home feature do buyers say they want most in a new home?
Air Conditioning

Staying cool is important to buyers in all regions of the country. Nearly three-quarters of home buyers ranked central air conditioning as “very important” for their new home, and 83 percent of buyers purchased a home with central air. Other highly desired home features: a garage for two or more cars (57 percent), a walk-in closet in the master bedroom (53 percent), and a backyard or play area (50 percent).

2. What’s the median size of homes purchased between late 2005 and early 2007?
1,840 square feet

Home sizes are growing. The size of the typical home purchased by survey respondents increased by 100 square feet since 2004, according to the survey results. Meanwhile, the median age of recently purchased homes decreased to 12 years from 15 in that same time span.

3. Repeat buyers tend to be choosier than first-time buyers. In particular, repeat buyers place much more emphasis on these home features:
Oversized garages and master bedroom walk-in closets

Sixty-five percent of repeat buyers said they wanted a garage with two or more spaces, compared with 41 percent of first-time buyers; 61 percent said they wanted a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, compared with 38 percent of first time buyers. Although repeat buyers placed more importance than first time buyers on nearly all home features surveyed — with the exception of a backyard or play area, and proximity to work — big garages and walk-in closets are two features that repeat buyers were much more likely to seek in their new home.

4. Within three months after buying a home, nearly half of all buyers remodeled or made improvements to which part of the house?
Kitchen

Six in ten buyers took on remodeling or home improvement projects soon after buying a home, according to the survey, and the kitchen was most often involved. Nearly half (47 percent) of home buyers remodeled or made improvements to their kitchen within the first three months. Other common projects include remodeling bathrooms and bedrooms, and adding new appliances and lighting. Overall, the typical buyer spent $4,350 on home improvement projects within the first three months.

5. Which home feature saw the biggest jump in buyer popularity since 2004, when NAR conducted its previous buyer preference survey?
Oversized garage

The most significant change between the 2007 survey and the previous 2004 survey was in the number of buyers who said oversized garages were important in their home purchase decisions. In that time frame, oversized garages (for two or more cars) gained 16 percentage points to 57 percent. What’s more, 56 percent of buyers who purchased a home without an oversized garage said they would have paid extra for one, while in the 2004 survey only 6 percent said they’d be willing to pay extra. Other features growing in popularity: hardwood floors, granite countertops, and cable readiness.

6. What three features did buyers say they’d be most willing to pay extra for in a home?

Central air conditioning, walk-in closets, and hardwood floors

Buyers aren’t afraid to spend money on the features they really want, according to the survey. Sixty-five percent said they’d be willing to pay extra for central air conditioning — in fact, they’d pay a median of $1,880 extra for a home with it. Sixty percent said they’d pay extra (a median of $870) for walk-in closets, and 57 percent said they’d pay more (a median of $1,900) for hardwood floors. Buyers were willing to pay the most for a waterfront property, an extra $4,760.

7. A home’s energy efficiency is most important to which segment of buyers?
New-home buyers

Of all buyers, nearly half reported a home's energy efficiency was "very important", but new-home buyers were particularly concerned. Sixty-five percent of buyers of homes one year old or newer said energy efficiency was "very important" in their home search. On the other hand, 32 percent of those who purchased homes 51 years or older said energy efficiency was "very important".

8.  Where do first-time home buyers tend to purchase a home?

Suburb or subdivision

Suburbs are still the most popular place to live, even for first-time buyers. Slightly more than half of this buyer segment purchased a home in a suburb or subdivision, compared with 20 percent who purchased a home in an urban or central city area, and 20 percent in a small town. Only 10 percent of first-time buyers bought a home in a rural area.

9. What’s the most common type of home purchased?
Single level

Overall, 47 percent of buyers purchased a single-level home, while 44 percent of buyers purchased a two-level home. Nine percent of buyers bought a home with three or more levels. In general, the older the home buyers, the more likely they are to buy a one-level home.

10. What did new-home buyers most wish their home had more of?

Storage

Can a home ever have enough storage? Nearly half of new-home buyers said more storage space would make their residence ideal. Among all buyers — of homes both old and new — 40 percent would have preferred more closets and nearly 60 percent wish for a larger kitchen. Regardless, more than 90 percent of home buyers said they are satisfied with the home they purchased.

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