Consumer and Home Design TrendsNational Housing Market Outlook

10K Home Buyers Sitting On the Fence!

February 23, 2011
88% of almost 10,000 consumers we surveyed think it’s a good time to buy a home. They told us what it will take to get them off the fence to buy a home, but they aren’t finding it!
Our sample size was huge (almost 10,000 responses) and biased toward today’s home shoppers (respondents were among 1 million survey recipients who have recently registered their email with a home builder or land developer).
They gave us feedback on what they are planning for in their next home purchase. We’ve aggregated the insight into national, regional and metro-level reports that should be the foundation of a consumer strategy that should be driven down to the neighborhood level.
Here are a few of our findings:
  • Style and design are slightly more important than price. If you build what consumers want at a market price, you will sell a lot of homes. Here is a great example. The Irvine Company shut down a struggling master plan, designed new homes based on consumer feedback, and then sold almost 1,000 homes in 2010 at prices their builder partners told them they would never achieve.
  • Personalization is a very important reason for home ownership. More than ever, homeowners want to customize the home to their desires. Personalization is more important than the investment potential or the income tax benefits for the majority of home buyers. It is not a coincidence that Standard Pacific Homes’ new website has a tab called “Personalizing.”
  • Most still want a bigger home. Despite the recent trend to build smaller homes, a majority told us that their next home will be bigger than their current home. They also told us about the living spaces that are most important to them.
  • Personal Yard Space, Pleasant Streetscapes, and Convenience trump Community Recreation and Amenities. Home and yard, as well as curb appeal and pleasant street scene, are a higher priority than community amenities. So do your homework before you spend a fortune on amenities!
  • Green in Their Pockets is More Important than Green Technology. Surprisingly, this was even more true for Gen Y than the older generations. However, some builders are finding that their green technology homes are outselling the competition 3:1 if they are priced the same.
Responses varied by geography, household composition, and target price point, especially when it came down to lot size tradeoffs and effective marketing techniques.  Spend a few grand on consumer insight before you make the huge dollar decisions on architecture and pricing!

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