Different Buyer Preferences? New vs. Existing Homes

If you have ever wondered what drives a home buyer to select a particular home look no further. The American Housing Survey provides insight into the home buying process. The top two reasons for choosing a home were its size (cited by 76 percent of buyers) and room layout/design (74 percent). The house’s price and the neighborhood were each cited by 72 percent of home buyers. For buyers of new homes, room layout/design, neighborhood, exterior appearance and construction quality tended to be even more important than for other types of buyers. Among first-time buyers, on the other hand, price was more often a consideration (see Graph 1).

buyer choice

The neighborhood a home is located in, also plays a major factor in home selection. The top two reasons for choosing a neighborhood were “the house itself” (cited by 85 percent of buyers) and safety (71 percent). Safety, looks/design and to some extent good schools tended to be more important to new home buyers than to other types of buyers. Proximity to work and friends/family tended to be more important to first-time buyers (Graph 2).

neighborhood choice

Home buyers looked at 10 different homes before deciding which one to buy (median). About half of the buyers used their saving for a downpayment, 17 percent used the sale of a previous home, and 11 percent purchased their home without a downpayment.

A deeper investigation into home buyers, the homes they are buying, and why they are buying them can be found here.


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