It’s been a rocky few years for the housing market, but it looks like we’re nearly out of the woods. Following the recession and housing crash of 2008 and 2009, numbers of homes for sale have slowly, cautiously increased, home values have risen, and contractors are building back up their clientele. At a trade show in Southern California, Meyers Research recently presented the findings of a survey responded to by 18,332 homeowners and renters. The survey tracked today’s homebuyers preferences in order to pinpoint the most common trends current in the housing market. Here’s what it found.
The Italian influence
Michelle Weedon, the study’s presenter, started with homebuyers’ architectural preference, which is Tuscan. She said, “The fresh-in-from-Italy look was picked by 19 percent of the people surveyed.” Next most popular is two-story homes featuring large windows and prominent entrance ways. Americans are loving the statement front door with columns, high arches, and good-sized entry halls.
Size vs. customization
In a surprising twist, the survey found bigger isn’t always better. According to respondents, “Single-story homes got first dibs by 57 percent of the households . . . [and] 61 percent of those surveyed would pick a smaller home with more custom options over a big, stripped-out home.” This might be an important point for home flippers and building contractors to make note of. Instead of investing in bigger square footage, consider involving the homebuyers in more of the design decisions. Spending a little extra on paint and flooring could yield big dividends.
Staging isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
These days, homebuyers have watched enough home flipping shows to recognize the signs. They’ll go on Zillow and see how recently the home was purchased and compare that price with your asking price. They’ll look past your fancy staging and take note of what’s underneath. The survey found the top things buyers look at are the quality of the flooring, the windows, and the lighting, then the cabinets and doors, in that order.
We’ve seen the demise of the dedicated home office—after all, wireless internet allows you to use your phone, tablet, or computer in any room of the house—and now people are more interested in how “smart” the home is. Simple features like USB slots in outlets, an automatic front door lock, and bluetooth speakers are all major selling points. According to the survey, “58 percent of the consumers who were polled would love to live in a home with ‘smart’ features [but only] 3 percent already do.” There’s a big market out there of homebuyers who want smart features but don’t have them yet.
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