As the country battles itself out of the recession, we believe a certain wave of practicality has swept through the housing industry. We see it with most of our clients. As in 2010, we see that home buyers are being more cautious about their investments and want affordable homes in great condition and great locations. Downsizing to a smaller home, low mortgage balances and eco-friendly homes are becoming very chic. Even dual income couples are looking for a home they can afford on one salary. Here is a sampling of what we believe will be popular with home buyers in 2011:
Smaller Homes: According to the National Association of Home Builders, the median size of a US home in 2007 was 2,277 sq. ft.; in 2009, that size shrunk to 2,135 sq. ft. The number of rooms isn't changing but the size of them are. Just like the reason for the trend in 2010, smaller homes generally mean smaller mortgages, and they are easier/cheaper to heat, clean and maintain.
Functionality is still key. Families want the usefulness of a larger home but in a smaller space. So areas that can have 2-3 purposes (say an office/den/guest room) and wisely maximize every inch of space are what buyers want.
Green Homes: Also the new wave in 2010, this trend is gaining momentum in 2011. The only difference is some buyers are now willing to pay for it; whereas, in the past, buyers wanted eco-friendly homes as long as it didn't cost more. Whether it is Energy-Star appliances, higher R-value insulation, newer windows, solar panels, or low-energy LED lighting, buyers want to feel like their home is environmentally sound. Buyers see the value in it.
Also affecting new construction, some builders are even putting a "guarantee" in writing to the ongoing energy savings that their home buyers will reap.
"High End" Boiler Rooms: Don't laugh. At one time, homeowners would brag about the size of their wine cellar, garage or library, now the boiler room can be a source of pride or shame. High efficiency systems in a home can cost a lot of money. Buyers will show them off to friends when they have their first house warming party.
Multiple Heating Options: As the prices of fuel oil, electricity, natural gas and propane remain unstable and subject to wide price variations, consumers want homes where they can supplement their heat with different options, such as only using a oil burner for the extreme cold and a heat pump for the milder temperatures. An added option such as a wood or propane fireplace insert is only a plus in a buyer's eye. Additionally, zoned heating and cooling is more popular than ever.
Ranch Homes: As the baby boomers age, they don't want to be climbing staircases. Single level homes are becoming more popular to accommodate the boomers and the family that might have to eventually take them in.
Front Porches: There are two reasons for this trend. First, a front porch fosters a sense of community which so many suburban areas lack. There is a shift in that buyers are seeking some tradition; they want to own homes and be a part of the community. Secondly, the recession and a lack of undeveloped land in some areas has slowed down the big "cookie cutter" developments. Many builders are putting new homes on unused parcels in already established neighborhoods. The addition of a front porch helps the new homes blend better with the older ones.
Charging Stations: Buyers love when an area of the kitchen or mudroom has an area devoted to charging the cell phones, cameras, laptops, iPods, etc.
What Women Want: Single women now make up 25% of the home buyers in today's market. In a 2009 survey of what buyers want, the two most requested items were large walk-in closets in the master bedroom and a well designed laundry room with a utility sink, storage and areas to hang clothes.
Cheap Upgrades: If they are going to live in a smaller home, buyers want them to be gorgeous with high end upgrades such as granite countertops, high quality faucets, light fixtures, switches, and door knobs, ceramic tile, hardwood floors, decorative molding, and cutting edge appliances.
Too Many Bells and Whistles: What can we say? Modesty is in. So keep it simple (albeit gorgeous but simple). Think of it as the little black dress with Mikimoto pearls; adding diamond earrings and a sapphire bracelet would be just too much.
Dark Paint Colors: Besides being hard to paint over, dark paint colors make an already small room look even smaller.
Doorless Showers: Briefly popular, consumers found that it is just too cold and drafty not to have a door on the shower.
If you are thinking of a move in 2011, give us a call!
Contact Scott Loper, Associate Broker, Realtor®, RE/MAX Realty Group at 215-513-1333 for help buying or selling a home in Lansdale, Harleysville, Hatfield, Souderton, Skippack, Collegeville, North Wales and the surrounding areas of Montgomery County Pennsylvania. To Search for Homes For Sale in Montgomery County Click Here.
The Trends for 2011 - What Do Buyers Want? - Copyright © 2011, The Scott Loper Team, All rights reserved.