The number of buyers expressing a desire for oversized garages grew 16 percentage points since NAR's last survey of buyer preferences in 2004. About 57 percent of home buyers surveyed now say they want an oversized garage. What's more, among buyers who purchased homes without big garages, 56 percent said they would have paid more for an oversized garage, compared to only 6 percent in the 2004 survey.
NAR's latest home buyer preference survey, which reports responses from buyers who purchased homes in 2006, asks buyers about the importance of 75 home features and room types.
What They're Shopping For
Other priorities for today’s home buyers include:
- Air conditioning: three out of every four respondents surveyed ranked this as “very important.”
- Master bedroom walk-in closet: 53 percent of buyers rated this as an important feature in a home.
- Hardwood floors and granite countertops: each gained 7 percentage points in popularity since the 2004 survey; 28 percent and 23 percent, respectively, of buyers labeled these home features as very important.
- Cable/satellite TV-ready: 46 percent, a growth of 6 percentage points from the 2004 survey, said this was important.
- Energy efficiency: especially among new-home buyers — 65 percent of new-home buyers said energy efficiency home features are very important compared to 39 percent for buyers of existing homes.
Buyers also said they're willing to pay more for these extras. For example, 65 percent of buyers said they would be willing to pay a median $1,880 extra for a home with central air conditioning. One out of four buyers also was willing to pay a median of $4,760 more for waterfront property.
What home buyers want in the South, however, is not always what buyers in the West want. The survey identified some of the following regional preferences in home features:
- Home buyers in the South and Midwest viewed central air conditioning as a priority, with 91 percent and 81 percent, respectively, saying this feature was very important.
- Sixty-six percent of buyers in the South thought a walk-in closet in the master bedroom was very important, while 61 percent of Midwesterners valued an oversized garage.
- In the Northeast, the highest percentage of buyers placed a premium on a backyard or play area (53 percent), followed by central air conditioning at 41 percent.
- Two-thirds of buyers in the West want oversize garages (66 percent), followed by central air conditioning at 59 percent.