Mike Croxall: Buyers Prefer New Homes In The Suburbs

Thursday, March 30, 2017 - by Mike Croxall, president, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

A majority of home buyers in the Chattanooga area prefer a new home to an existing one, and 65% want that home to be in the suburbs, according to new research and surveys conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

The 2017 study, “Home Buyer Preferences: Age, Income, and Other Factors,” is based on a survey of recent and prospective home buyers, providing insights into what buyers are looking for and the trade-offs they are willing to make. 

The survey showed that preference for home size increases as income increases, with buyers in the $150,000-plus income bracket preferring homes just under 2,500 square feet.

Yet, no matter what the income, buyers overwhelmingly prefer having more features and amenities to simply having a larger home. More than two-thirds of buyers are willing to trade size for high-quality products and features.

In fact, in 2015, the typical new home had 2,689 square feet. In 2016, it dropped to 2,634, U.S. Census data show. That’s the first drop in size since 2009 and a sign that the home building industry is preparing for the coming wave of first-time buyers as millennials begin to dip their toes into the market. NAHB expects the size of homes to continue to decline as demand increases from first-time buyers.

Among the specific amenities that home buyers want, a separate laundry room tops the list of must-haves across all income groups. Energy-efficient features like low-E windows, Energy Star-rated appliances, ceiling fans and programmable thermostats are also at the top of buyers’ wish lists. Home buyers also want their homes to include a patio, exterior lighting and a full bath on the main level.

NAHB’s study complements new research from Better Homes & Gardens (BHG) that targets a subset of these home owners: “first millennials” between the ages of 22-39 who have purchased their first home. These buyers generally purchase older housing stock in need of fixing up. It’s not surprising that most of this subset wants to learn about home improvement and they aren’t afraid of taking on some DIY projects.

This group is already thinking ahead about building equity to enable them to purchase their next home. When that happens, they aren’t looking for oversized master suites or over-the-top finishes. They want mud rooms, separate laundry rooms and plenty of gathering space.

To learn more about how you can start building your dream home, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at www.HBAGC.net. 

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