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Home buyer preferences show affinity for newer homes

Home buyer preferences vary according to geography and demographic, but buyers still consistently want standard amenities and would be willing to pay more for amenities they didn’t end up buying (like a laundry room).



home preferences

home preferences

NAR Profile of home buyers’ preferences

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) 2013 Profile of Buyers’ Home Feature Preferences, geography and demographics had the strongest impact on home buyer preferences between 2010 and 2012. During that period, the average home purchased was 1,860 square feet and built in 1996 and typically featured three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and just over half of the homes purchased were on a single level.

“Deciding where to live comes with a lot of options, but buyers quickly realize that some features are more important than others when it comes to choosing the right house for them,” said NAR President Gary Thomas. “Buyers need to have a clear idea of what features are important to them and know where they are willing to compromise; in this respect, Realtors® can bring buyers home. Realtors visit hundreds of homes with buyers each year, and have a unique understanding of what buyers value in their local markets.”

What rooms were most important

When it came to rooms that buyers want in a home, 55 percent of buyers thought it was very important to have a living room, although NAR reports that buyers in the Northeast placed more importance on a home with a dining room. Buyers aged 55+ prioritized a bedroom on the main level of the house while home buyers aged 35 to 54 placed more importance on a laundry room, while those with children placed more importance on a family room.

Of the 63 percent of buyers who did not purchase a home with a laundry room, they tell NAR they’d be willing to pay an average of $1,590 more for a home with this room, while the 44 percent of buyers who did not purchase a home with a den/study/home office/library would be willing to pay $1,920 more for a home with this room.

Home buyers willing to pay more for favored features

NAR asked respondents to rank 33 home features, and central air conditioning was the most important to the most buyers, followed by a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, being cable/Internet ready, and an en-suite master bathroom. As to what they actually purchased, of those who considered central A/C and cable/Internet readiness very or somewhat important, 94 percent purchased a home with these features.

Of those who did not purchase a home with central A/C, they would be willing to pay $2,520 more for a home with it, and 69 percent of buyers who didn’t get new kitchen appliances would be willing to pay $1,840 more for a home with them.

A walk-in closet in the master bedroom was the third most common feature on which buyers would spend more. Sixty percent of buyers who did not purchase a home with a walk-in closet would be willing to pay $1,350 more for a home with this feature.

Garages, trees, wood floors, new kitchens

NAR reports that Southern buyers prioritized central air conditioning, and likely because of the available inventory, tended to buy newer homes (less than five years old) and larger homes, averaging at 2,000 square feet with more emphasis on wooded lots with trees than other regions. Northeastern residents purchased larger homes as well, averaging 1,850 square feet, and that region values hardwood floors more than any other region.

Even though 78 percent of buyers purchased a home with a agarage, this feature was more popular with new-home buyers, Midwesterners, and suburbanites. Single men wanted finished basements, a feature most popular in the Midwest and Northeast. Both single men and married couples placed higher importance on new kitchen appliances.

Where the big bucks come in

Fully 32 percent of home buyers said they would be willing to pay a median of $5,420 more for a home on the waterfront, while 40 percent would be willilng to pay $5,020 more for a home under five years old.

One in three would be willing to pay a median of $3,200 more for a home with a basement, while one in five would be willing to pay $2,920 more for a home with an in-law suite.

Can’t get no satisfaction

NAR Vice President of Research Paul Bishop. “Most satisfied homeowners still said they would like more or larger closets and storage space. In addition, nearly half of recent buyers would prefer a larger kitchen, and two out of five would prefer a larger home overall.”

Homeowners felt strongly enough about changing their home that within three months of a home purchase, 53 percent of buyers undertook a home improvement project, spending an average of $4,550. Kitchen remodeling was the most common, followed by the kitchen, then bathrooms. The most common improvements were lighting and appliance replacement.


Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?



Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.



aging housing inventory

aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.



zillow move

zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub,, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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