This year, the typical spring buyer is on the hunt for a three bedroom, two-bathroom home with a garage and up-to-date kitchen, according to a new survey released from realtor.com. The survey also found that family needs and rising rents are motivating millennials to get into the market, while 55+ buyers are looking for privacy and comfort in their new home.
"Although record-low inventory and high prices make this housing market unique, some classic features still top most shoppers' wish lists," says Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com. "At the same time, we found some clear differences in priorities. For instance, older buyers are concerned with privacy and being able to age comfortably, while millennials place more emphasis on family needs, stability and personal expression."
Based on an online survey of more than 1,000 active buyers conducted in early March by Toluna Research, the survey provides insight into both the most sought-after homes as well as the motivations underpinning what shoppers are looking for.
Majority of buyers want space, multiple bathrooms and a garage
The survey found that 44 percent of all respondents said they are looking for a three-bedroom home, and 93 percent of respondents want at least two bathrooms. Additionally, 27 percent of all buyers rate a garage as one of the most important home features, ahead of an updated kitchen (24 percent) and open floor plan (20 percent).
Older buyers want privacy & comfort; millennials favor family & self-expression
More than 20 percent of buyers 55 years and older said that privacy – having a space solely of their own – was their main goal for purchasing a home. That was followed by their motivation for physical comforts (18 percent) and stability (5 percent).
Fulfilling family needs took the top spot for millennial buyers (17 percent), followed by stability (14 percent) and personal expression (13 percent); only 12 percent of buyers younger than 55 cited privacy as their chief priority. However, 9 percent of 35- to 54-year-old buyers and 6 percent of 55+ cited personal expression as a main goal for purchasing a home.
For millennials, the rent is too high
Twenty-three percent of buyers between 18 and 34 years old reported rising rent as a trigger for their desire to purchase a home – more than any other option. This corresponds with steep increases in rents across the country in recent years, especially in many high-cost urban areas that have become magnets for millennials. HUD data shows that rents were up in 85 of the top 100 metro areas, including 9 metros where rents rose by double-digit percentages from a year ago.
Millennials like contemporary and colonial homes; older buyers prefer ranches
Among millennials who expressed a home-style preference – 11 percent didn't – contemporary and colonial homes took the top spots, each favored by 10 percent of respondents. On the other hand, ranches are the most popular home style for buyers 55 and older, favored by 28 percent, followed distantly by contemporary homes at 12 percent. Only 6 percent of millennials favor ranch homes.