Realtor website surveys homebuyer preferences

Ranch-style homes, large back yards and updated kitchens were on top home-buyers’ wish lists this spring, according to realtor.com’s home-buyer survey. The survey also found more than half of home shoppers are looking for a three-bedroom home, while 75 percent of home shoppers are considering a two-bathroom home.

The survey conducted by the online listing website of the National Association of Realtors is based on March data from home shoppers and could prove useful for sellers who are considering putting their home in the market. “The survey provides insight into what features today’s home buyers are looking for this spring and summer,” said Denise Welsh, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors. “These findings will give sellers an idea of what features to showcase when they put their home in the market.”

According to the survey, all age groups are looking for some combination of a back yard, garage and updated kitchen. Younger home buyers who are more likely to have young children want to find a home with a large yard and located in a good school district.

Most buyers–42 percent–are looking for a ranch-style home, while 28 percent of buyers are looking for a contemporary-style home. Craftsman and Colonial styles were other preferred home designs.

Among most age groups, 80 percent ranked the kitchen as one of their three favorite rooms, followed by the master bedroom (49 percent) and living room (42 percent). For many buyers, particularly those between 45 and 64 years old, privacy and wanting a space that is solely theirs is a top goal when searching for a home.

Millennial home buyers cite family needs, like increasing family size, getting married or moving in with a partner as their primary reason for finding a new home. Those age 35 to 44 are also focused on family needs and cited better school districts or changing family circumstances as their primary reasons for purchasing a new home. Buyers over age 45 are looking to downsize, citing planning for retirement as their primary motive for finding a new house.

Among younger buyers, many of whom are buying starter homes, 40 percent are looking for townhouses and row houses. As buyers age, get married and start a family, the survey found single-family homes are a clear preference.

Another survey, the “2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends” by the National Association of Realtors, found a growing share of home-buyers are millennials, and more of them are purchasing single-family homes in the suburbs. Many millennials prefer urban living, but once they start having families, the need for more space at an affordable price pushes them to look outside the city. The study found among home-buyers who purchased a home between July of 2015 and June of 2016, only 15 percent of millennial buyers bought in an urban area, down from 17 percent last year and 21 percent two years ago.

The NAR survey found while online and digital technology usage during the home search has increased in recent years, millennials and Gen X buyers are most likely to buy their home using a real estate agent (92 percent and 88 percent, respectively).

“More buyers are using real estate websites like realtor.com when they start their home search, and the online and digital technology can be very useful to narrow down their search and preferences, but at the end of the day, they seek a Realtor’s expertise and insights into the local market,” said Welsh. “There is value in a Realtor’s ability to analyze this information and guide them through the complexities of a real estate transaction.”


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