A new study reveals what makes a home attractive to a buyer in the United States with size, age and location all being important although air conditioning, walk in closets and new kitchen appliances are also factors. The study from the National Association of Realtors says that geography and demography strongly influence what buyers value in a home. The typical recently purchased home was 1,860 square feet and was built in 1996.
Repeat buyers, buyers of new homes, married couples and families with children typically purchased larger homes with first time buyers and single women tending to buy older homes. The typical buyer purchased a home with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms – slightly over half of the homes purchased were on a single level.
The report also found that Southerners tend to buy newer homes and they were more likely to want a home less than five years old and in a wooded lot with trees when compared to other regions. Not surprisingly, buyers in the South also placed a higher importance on central air conditioning.
While 78% of all buyers purchased a home with a garage, garages were more popular among new home buyers, Midwesterners, and suburbanites. Some 41% of homes purchased had a basement, but this feature was more popular among buyers in the Midwest and Northeast. Northeastern buyers also value hardwood floors more than people in other regions and Southerners typically bought the largest home at 2,000 square feet. Those in the Northeast followed closely behind with a typical home purchase of 1,850 square feet.
Among buyers aged 55 and older, 42% considered finding a single level home very important, compared to just 11% of buyers under the age of 35. Single women also placed higher importance on single level homes, while single men wanted finished basements – both single men and married couples placed higher importance on new kitchen appliances.
Among all 33 home features in the survey, central air conditioning was the most important to the most buyers with 65% considering this feature very important. The next most important feature was a walk in closet in the master bedroom with 39% of buyers considering this feature very important. Closely behind was having a home that was cable, satellite TV and/or Internet ready, as well as an en-suite master bathroom.
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Buyers value some features so much that they are willing to spend more money to have them. Some 69% of buyers would be willing to pay $2,520 more for a home with central air conditioning and the same number would pay $1,840 more for a home with new kitchen appliances – while 60% were willing to pay an extra $1,350 for a walk in closet. The features on which buyers placed the highest dollar value were waterfront properties and homes that were less than five years old with 32% of buyers willing to pay a median of $5,420 more for a home on the waterfront, and 40% willing to pay a median of $5,020 more for a home that was less than five years old.
The rooms that buyers were willing to pay the most for were a basement and an in-law suite. Some 33% of buyers would be willing to pay a median of $3,200 more for a home with a basement, and 20 percent of buyers would be willing to pay a median of $2,920 more for a home with an in-law suite.
The two most common rooms buyers were willing to spend more for were a laundry room and a den, study, home office or library. While 97% of recent buyers were satisfied with their home purchase, there are always features buyers would like that they don’t have, said NAR vice president of research Paul Bishop. ‘Most satisfied home owners 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,’ he revealed.