As the country battles itself out of the recession, a certain wave of practicality has swept through the housing industry. Home buyers are more cautious about their investments and want affordable homes in great condition and great locations. If they don't feel like a home is superior in terms of updates and amenities, they want a deeply discounted price. Downsizing to a smaller home, low mortgage balances and eco-friendly homes are becoming very chic. Here is a sampling of what is popular right now:
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. Smaller homes generally mean smaller mortgages and property taxes, and they are easier/cheaper to heat, clean and maintain.
Functionality and layout are 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: This trend is gaining momentum. Whether it is Energy-Star appliances, tankless hot water heaters, high efficiency heat pumps, higher R-value insulation, newer windows, solar panels, or low-energy LED lighting, buyers want to feel like their home is environmentally sound and energy efficient.
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 an 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 are 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.
Quality 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.
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. There are too many cords to keep track of.
What Women Want: Years ago, builders started listening to women when they offered “Christmas Lights” packages in some new homes. Single women now make up 25% of the home buyers in today’s market. Ease of maintenance is always a top priority for women. Additionally, women want:
Security: Automatic lighting, security systems, deadbolts, remote access
Organization: Walk-in closets with organizers (such as a California Closet), large kitchen pantries, “drop zones” for groceries, hair dryer ready drawers with outlets in them, a well-designed laundry room with a utility sink, storage and areas to hang clothes and a wall mounted gift wrapping station with retractable shelving
Serenity: Ultra quiet appliances, luxurious master bathrooms with soaking tubs (even though most women admit to rarely using the tub), quiet (non-creaking) flooring, soft but chic paint colors, outdoor areas that offer privacy and areas to tend a garden
What would you want in a home?
For more information, contact Lisa Loper at (215) 256-1200 ext. 212 or Lisa@ScottLoperTeam.com. This article originally appeared in the Montgomeryville-Lansdale Patch.
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 of Pennsylvania. To Search for Homes For Sale in Montgomery County Click Here.
What Buyers Want Right Now - Copyright © 2011, The Scott LoperTeam, All rights reserved.