MLR

Study: What homebuyers want in 2013

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What homebuyers want across America depends somewhat on what part of the country they live in – as well as the demographics of their families.

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But they can agree on many basic requirements, with air conditioning coming first on the list. And, not surprisingly, having a good AC system is a little more important to Southerners.

Of 33 different home features listed, air conditioning was chosen as No. 1 by 65 percent of the 2,000 respondents to the 2013 Profile of Buyers’ Home Feature Preferences study by the National Association of Realtors.

Second on the list of most important features to homebuyers nationwide is a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, followed next by a bathroom in the master bedroom suite. Having a home that is cable and Internet ready is another high priority.

Also near the top of the list is an eat-in kitchen and new kitchen appliances, both of which respondents said they would be willing to pay more for to have in a house.

The two rooms that homebuyers would pay the most to have included in their homes are a mother-in-law suite and a basement. Men in particular favor a basement, as well as residents of the Midwest and Northeast. Northeastern buyers also favor hardwood floors and dining rooms more than people from other regions.

The typical home purchased recently was a three-bedroom, two-bath with 1,860 square feet built in 1996, the study found. Slightly more than half of the homes were one story – 42 percent of buyers age 55 and older said buying a one-story home was very important, compared to just 11 percent for those under age 35. Single women also placed heavier emphasis on owning a one-story home.

Southerners bought the largest houses, averaging more than 2,000 square feet, followed by the Northeast.

Garages are most popular with new-home buyers, Midwesterners and suburbanites. Three of four buyers who recently bought a home bought one with a garage.

As to their recent home purchase, most say they are satisfied with their new home but wish they had more closet space and a larger kitchen – and more room overall. Within three months, more than half of new buyers have begun a home improvement or remodeling project, most in the kitchen or the bathroom.