The 11 Key Traits About Homes Consumers Bought in 2013

by Peter Thomas Ricci

for sale

There are many types of properties available to today’s homebuyers, but as any savvy agent knows, various trends emerge that largely determine what kinds of residences most homebuyers will be interested in pursuing.

Using information from the National Association of Realtors’ “Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends” report, we’ve put together a list of the 11 key features of the residences homebuyers ultimately purchased in 2013.

1. The single-family detached reigns supreme – The single-family detached residence is still, by a wide margin, the preferred choice of living for today’s homebuyers, with 79 percent of buyers opting for that style of home; that’s compared to 7 percent for townhomes/rowhomes and 6 percent for condos.

2. Suburbia ain’t dying yet – Though its influence is arguably waning, the suburbs still account for the majority of purchases, with 51 percent of homes sold being located in suburbs/subdivisions, compared to 18 percent for small towns and 17 percent for cities.

3. Distance grows with age – Interestingly, the distance between the purchased property and the homebuyer’s original residence increases as the homebuyer ages, from just eight miles for buyers aged 32 and younger to 55 miles for buyers aged 88 and older – clearly, the ties that ground homebuyers to certain areas become less strong as buyers age.

4. Quality over quantity – All age groups desired residences in quality neighborhoods, and all largely wanted affordable housing options. Differences, though, included: younger homebuyers and older homebuyers want to be close to family; buyers as old as 47 place an emphasis on the quality of schools, and the convenient access to schools; starting at age 58, convenient access to healthcare facilities proved valuable.

5. Green living – Environmental concerns proved important to quite a few homebuyers, with 39 percent citing concern for heating/cooling costs, and 37 percent citing concern for commuting costs.

6. McMansion downsize – Much ink has been devoted to the future of McMansions, and it seems that though Americans prefer larger homes, their zeal for super-sized residences has yet to return. Twenty-seven percent of buyers opted for homes sized 1,501 to 2,000 square feet, which was the most popular option among all buyers; the second most popular, at 24 percent, was for homes 2,001 to 2,500 square feet.

7. Young people, old home – As the age of the homebuyer increases, the age of the home declines, with older homebuyers opting for newer properties in retirement communities or active adult developments.

8. Expert negotiators – Though all homebuyers like to consider themselves great at negotiating, the majority of homebuyers in 2013 have stuck very close to the original asking price for the homes they have purchased. Fifty-four percent of buyers paid between 95 and 100 percent of the asking price for their home, with only 20 percent paying 90 to 94 percent and 17 percent paying less than 90 percent.

9. Little compromise – Homebuyers in 2013 have also proven remarkably averse to compromise, with 37 percent of those sampled stating they made no compromises in their homebuying process. The most prominent compromises were: the price of the home (18 percent); the size of the home (16 percent); the condition of the home (16 percent); the lot size (13 percent); the style of the home (12 percent); and the distance from work (12 percent).

10. They come in threes – The three-bedroom house remained the defining choice for homebuyers, with 83 percent of buyers opting for that style. Just 15 percent bought a home with two bedrooms, and only 2 percent a home with one bedroom. Similarly, 59 percent of homes had two full bathrooms, while 17 percent had one and 23 percent had three or more.

11. In it for the long haul – It appears that homebuyers are prepared to spend a decent amount of time in their homes. Twenty-six percent said they expected to spend 16 or more years in their house, with another 19 percent expecting stay at least eight years. Interestingly, though, only 21 percent of homebuyers aged 32 and younger expect to stick around for 16 or more years, compared to 32 percent for homebuyers aged 33 to 57.

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