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Key Concerns for Home Buyers Identified

March 13, 2013

Price and proximity to work are key concerns for first-time home buyers, while trade-up buyers tend to be most focused on the design of the home and the neighborhood, according to “Characteristics of Home Buyers,” an analysis of the recently released 2011 American Housing Survey (AHS) by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

“Among first-time home buyers, price was the most frequently cited reason for selecting a particular house, with a 38 percent share,” said David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist. “At 30 percent, proximity to work was the most frequently cited reason for choosing a specific neighborhood.”

“The majority of trade-up buyers (36 percent) cited the design of the home as the primary reason for selecting a particular house, with 28 percent citing the looks and design of the community as the reason for choosing a specific neighborhood,” continued Crowe.

More than 90 percent of the sales reported in the 2011 AHS were existing homes, a significant increase from 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 Crowe. “We expect that situation to turn around as the housing market recovery takes hold. More than half (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.”

There is also growing interest in single-story homes, and energy efficiency continues to be a concern. Nine out of ten buyers surveyed would prefer to purchase a home with energy-efficient features and permanently lower utility bills rather than to buy a home without those features that costs two to three percent less.

“No matter what their preference for location or style, financially qualified buyers are likely to find a new home with the features they most want,” said Crowe. “The housing market is strengthening in most areas of the country, and home builders are eager to help buyers achieve or further their homeownership goals.”

The Characteristics of Home Buyers report is available here.
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