What Today's Home Buyers Really Want
Highlights from a popular new NAHB Economics study indicate that energy-efficient appliances and laundry rooms top buyers' wish lists, while elevators and tub-less master bathrooms fall flat.
NAHB's newly published study, What Home Buyers Really Want, is a treasure trove of information on consumer preferences in today's marketplace, and was the subject of a recent episode of Housing Now TV. As a helpful entry on this in NAHB's Eye on Housing blog explains, today's buyers seem to be more focused on practical vs. luxurious amenities in their homes. In support of this observation, four of the top most wanted features in a home have to do with saving energy, with 94% of home buyers desiring energy-star rated appliances, 91% preferring an energy-star rated home, 89% demanding energy-star rated windows, and 88% saying they want ceiling fans.
Continuing with the practical theme, fully 93% of buyers want a laundry room, with 57% considering it essential to their home selection. Moreover, nine out of 10 buyers want a linen closet in the bathroom to help keep towels and toiletries organized, while space in the garage to store bikes, sports equipment or gardening tools is on 86% of buyers' wish lists. Just as important, according to 85% of survey respondents, is having a walk-in pantry in the kitchen. On the flip side, 70% of buyers said they would be unlikely to buy a home that included an elevator and 51% discarded the option of having only a shower stall in the master bathroom with no tub.
Looking at community preferences, 66% of buyers do not want to live in a golf course community, while 56% reject the idea of living in a high density community, 48% do not want a gated community, and 44% would not buy a home in a mixed-use community. Also growing out of favor are two-story family rooms and entry foyers, with 43% and 38% of buyers saying "no" to those features in the survey, respectively.
New Study Looks at Builders' and Remodelers' Use of Info Technology
A newly published NAHB Economics study sheds new light on how builders and remodelers are employing various forms of information technology in their daily work. Interestingly, the survey finds that, while the use of common information technology such as smart phones, laptops, I-pads, mobile aps and GPS has become fairly commonplace among today's builders and remodelers, so far, these tools have been used more for managing internal operations than interacting with customers.
A handy summary of the findings on the NAHB Eye on Housing blog notes that at least 80% of builders use the technology for internal management of their businesses, management of individual projects and internal communications with staff, while about half use the technology to select products and to help make client presentations. Further use of the technology to interact with customers -- either by allowing customers to track progress of a project or allowing the builder to track customer satisfaction after the project is completed -- is limited to about 20% of builders.
Meanwhile, remodelers are slightly less likely to use technology for staff communications, but slightly more likely to use the technology for client presentations and product selection. Remodelers are also more likely than single-family builders to use GPS, possibly reflecting the relative difficulty of locating isolated addresses in existing neighborhoods vs. construction sites in a new subdivision.
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- Joanne Loftus