What BUYERS Want!

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It’s always interesting to watch trends in housing regardless if you’re a real estate agent or investor.  I’m not talking about the statistics of sales data so much as what kinds of homes are selling and what homes are being built for the current consumer. Maybe you noticed all the articles on living in tree houses, pods, micro-homes and apartments in the last decade? That’s because the economy tanked and people found they couldn’t afford big homes. Fist time buyers were especially hit hard and looked for alternatives.  The American Institute of Architects recently reported that ‘home sizes are beginning to turn around, particularly for custom and luxury homes as well as the market for existing homes.’ That pretty much sums it up-the economy gets good again and people look to building their dreams again and spending the bucks to attain them.

Most interesting and impacting to me as a real estate broker is the effect our aging population has on home sales. Seniors who are close to retirement or newly retired are often shedding their homes and downsizing to condos for the attractive ‘lock and leave’ lifestyle. Two of my clients last month sold their homes because their kids and extended families kept moving back in with them and they really wanted to have peace and quiet without the constant noise of grandchildren. Then again, one client moved up so that she could live with her daughter and son in law because her mobility was slowing decreasing and she was beginning to need assistance.

  The summer Parade of Homes in the Salt Lake Valley polled people to see what they wanted in a new home, as in their ‘must haves’. Here’s the results:

1) Bigger great rooms to gather family and friends for movies, game nights and holiday get-togethers;

2) Master bathrooms with double sinks, walk-in closets and built in organizers in the closets;

3) Tech features such as remote control door locks, live video feeds of the house to smart phones, alarm systems, etc. Also green features . . . tankless waterheaters, and more energy saving appliances and fixtures;

4) Walk out basements. Oh, and speaking of basements, put in a radon venting system at the time of a new home build-so much cheaper than after the fact when the radon is discovered and you have to get an engineer in to mitigate the levels of gas;

5) High ceilings for better light and mental creativity;

6) Three car garages (because so many people in Utah have ATV’s, boats, bikes and ski equipment);

7) Large kitchen pantry-for Costco items methinks!

8)  Central air. It appears that global warming is making the evaporative cooler industry here cool off in unexpected ways.