What Buyers Want
If you want to know the direction of your customers’ homebuying preferences, think big cars and big screens. Almost 60 percent of home buyers are prepared to spend more for a house with an oversized garage, and almost 40 percent would do the same to get a house that’s ready for cable or satellite TV, NAR research shows.
Both of these figures up are up substantially from 2004, when NAR conducted similar research. With their rise, oversized garages now rank second among the most desired features buyers want, up from fifth place three years ago. TV readiness has also edged up. Of all the preferred features, central air conditioning is far and away the most important. That was the case in 2004, and it continues to be No. 1 this year.
Other important features: walk-in closets in the master bedroom and separate showers in the master bath.
Also big: patios, porches, and fencing. New on the list: backyards with a play area and wiring for high-speed Internet.
Big still in
The NAR survey for the first time asks about preferences for energy efficient features. In their responses, buyers say they want such features, with more than 90 percent saying the features are either very or somewhat important.
Despite these green leanings, big houses remain the norm. The typical home was 1,840 square feet in the 2007 survey, up almost 7 percent from the median home size of 1,727 square feet in 2004. What’s more, 12 percent of homes in the 2007 survey were more than 3,000 square feet, compared to 9 percent of homes in 2004.
Luxury becoming standard
The good life increasingly is the only life, buyer’s preferences indicate. More buyers than in the previous survey say it’s very important for homes to have granite counters in the kitchen (23 percent compared to 17 percent in 2004), a whirlpool tub in the bathroom (13 percent vs. 9 percent), and hardwood floors throughout (28 percent vs. 21 percent).
The only interior features of decreasing importance: a sitting area in the master bedroom.
The trend toward enhancing living shows up in buyers’ room preferences. Of declining interest are traditional rooms like the living room, den, and dining room, while interest is rising in exercise rooms and in-law suites.
NAR, September 2007