Regardless of the reason for relocating, buyers generally develop a list of features and technicalities for their future home but new data from the National Association of Home Builders' American Housing Survey for 2011 revealed that buyers are most concerned about price and the proximity of their home to their place of work.
According to results from the survey, first-time buyers reported home prices as their main motivation for selecting a home, representing 38 percent of the total responses. Thirty percent said that they purchased a home in a particular neighborhood because of how close it was to work. Thirty-six percent of buyers who have previously owned a property and invested in a higher priced home noted they selected their home based on its design, while 28 percent reported that the looks and the design of the neighborhood when comparing them.
Throughout 2009 and 2010 the inventory of existing homes for sale was high, with a large number of foreclosures listed for sale as a result of the housing market slump. The fact that more than 90 percent of the 6.8 million transactions were purchases for existing homes, up from real estate records in previous years.
"Sales of new homes were very low in 2009 and 2010 due to the unique circumstances surrounding the Great Recession and the housing market crisis," said David Crowe, chief economist of NAHB. "We expect that situation to turn around as the housing market recovery takes hold. More than 55 percent of the people surveyed for "What Home Buyers Really Want," NAHB's consumer preferences study, said they would prefer to purchase a new home rather than an existing home."
While new homes are often pricier, buyers won't have to spend much money on initial maintenance and repairs, and flooring and countertops won't need replaced before the house is move-in ready. In addition, the option to customize home is appealing to many buyers, who may be more willing to splurge on a long-term investment.
Other housing trends have influenced building trends and the types of homes preferred by those searching for their dream home. According to NAHB, single-story homes have grown to be more popular, as energy efficiency is important to many purchasing. Data from the report showed nine out of 10 prospective buyers would rather purchase a property deemed energy efficient, likely to lower monthly bills.
According to Crowe, with a rise in building and busier months for real estate activity just around the corner, those interested in homeownership will likely be able to find a suitable option.