The 7 Key Traits About the Homes Consumers Bought in 2013

by Peter Thomas Ricci

What were the most important features to homebuyers in 2013? What features of the home, and the greater area, were most valuable to them?


There are many types of property available to today’s homebuyers, but as any savvy agents knows, various trends emerge that largely determine what kinds of residence most homebuyers will be interested in pursuing.

For our second story on the National Association of Realtors’ “Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends” report, we’ll be looking at seven key features NAR uncovered in the kinds of residences that homebuyers ultimately purchase.

1. The single-family detached reigns supreme – The single-family detached residence is still, by a wide margin, the preferred choice of living for today’s homebuyers, with 79 percent of buyers opting for that style of home; that’s compared to 7 percent for townhouse/row houses and 6 percent for condos.

2. Suburbia ain’t dying yet – Though its influence is arguably waning, the suburbs still account for the majority of purchases, with 51 percent of homes sold being located in suburbs/subdivisions, compared to 18 percent for small towns and 17 percent for cities.

3. Distance grows with age – Interestingly, the distance between the purchased property and the homebuyer’s original residence increases as the homebuyer ages, from just eight miles for buyers aged 32 and younger to 55 miles for buyers aged 88 and older – clearly, the ties that ground homebuyers to certain areas become less strong as buyers age.

4. Quality over quantify – All age groups desired residents in quality neighborhoods, and all largely wanted affordable housing options. Differences, though, included: younger homebuyers and older homebuyers want to be close to family; buyers as old as 47 place an emphasis on the quality of schools, and the convenient access to schools; starting at age 58, convenient access to healthcare facilities proved valuable.

5. Green living – Environmental concerns proved important to quite a few homebuyers, with 39 percent citing concern for heating/cooling costs, and 37 percent citing concern for commuting costs.

6. McMansion downsize – We’ve spilt much ink on the future of McMansions, and it seems that though Americans prefer larger homes, their zeal for super-sized residences has yet to return. Twenty-seven percent of buyers opted for homes sized 1,501 to 2,000 square feet, which was the most popular option among all buyers; the second most popular, at 24 percent, was for homes 2,001 to 2,500 square feet.

7. Young people, old home – As the age of the homebuyer increases, the age of the home declines, with older homebuyers opt for newer properties in retirement communities or active adult developments.

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