Whether you like it or not, home buyers are still holding the keys to the kingdom in today’s real estate world. What the average home buyer is looking for has traditionally been a bit of a moving target. From a cozy, remote cabin in the woods to a sprawling “McMansion” in the suburbs, everyone’s tastes are a bit different. The good news is, there are some general trends that span across the market giving the “average buyer” a broad range of choices to match what they are looking for.
Looking back at our history, we have not always had the amount of home space we enjoy today. In 1950, the average “square feet per-person” in an American household was 290. Incidentally, that is the exact size footprint of the cabin I lived in for almost four years. Today, the average American enjoys an expansive 924 square feet per person. Everyone take a deep breath.
When looking for a home, there are certain amenities or features the average buyer is looking for. We all know the story when it comes to kitchens and baths, but there are other highlights that help sell the home and keep the buyer’s interest piqued. Energy efficient appliances, lighting and windows are high on that list. Along with a programmable thermostat and an insulated front door, these items are going to be of critical importance especially when shopping in the Northern States. People are more conscious about both energy costs and energy waste.
The obvious trend that goes along with a smaller floor plan should be a smaller price tag. On average about half (45 percent) of today’s buyers are looking to spend under $200,000 for their next home. 31 percent are aiming for between $200,000 and $300,000, and the remaining 24 percent are reaching for something north of $300,000. It is no secret that we’ve seen the median home price drop a bit over the past five years, but since 2000, that number has jumped up $65,900 to an average of $272,900.
While we touched on it a bit earlier, the energy-efficiency of homes is still a very hot topic and much desired feature of homes being purchased today. Energy Star appliances, more natural light, extra insulation in the attic, panel or foam insulation elsewhere and energy-efficient HVAC systems are all critical to today’s buyer.
Housing industry experts predict the number of “green homes” built in 2016 will be 38 percent of all residential construction versus the 17 percent we saw in 2011. Energy-efficient options are no longer cost-prohibitive and are doing well to pay for themselves through their savings in much less time. We just have to realize this is the future, Energy-Efficient just makes good sense. Both for the environment and our pocket book.
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