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NAHB Survey Reveals Consumer Home Preferences

While more than 90 percent of homes purchased in 2011 were existing homes, more than half of homebuyers declared a preference for new homes, according to the ""National Association of Home Builders'"":https://www.nahb.org/ (NAHB) ""Characteristics of Home Buyers,"" an analysis of the 2011 American Housing Survey conducted by the Census Bureau.

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NAHB compared the results of the American Housing Survey with its own findings in its recent survey, ""What Home Buyers Really Want.""

About 55 percent of survey respondents stated a preference for new homes, according to NAHB.

""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 at NAHB.

Crowe anticipates a reversal of this trend ""as the housing market recovery takes hold.""

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Along with their preference for new homes, survey respondents expressed a desire for energy-efficient homes.

According to NAHB, these two qualities go hand-in-hand. Despite the fact that new homes are often larger than existing homes, energy costs in new homes are about 10 percent lower, NAHB said.

First-time home buyers and trade-up buyers had different priorities for their home purchases, according to NAHB.

Whereas price topped the list of priorities for first-time buyers with about 38 percent listing it as their No. 1 determining factor in their purchase, trade-up buyers based their decision more on design. About 36 percent of trade-up buyers said home design was the No. 1 factor in their decision.

When choosing a specific neighborhood, first-time buyers looked for neighborhoods that were close to their place of work. This factor was listed as a top priority for 30 percent of survey respondents in the category.

Trade-up buyers chose neighborhoods based on the ""looks and design of the community,"" according to NAHB. About 28 percent of respondents in this category stated this as their top priority for their neighborhood.

New-home buyers tended to be older than first-time buyers. The median age of a new-home purchaser was 38 years old, while the median age of a first-time buyer was 31 years old.

First-time buyers spent less money on their homes than new-home buyers, according to NAHB. New homes had a median value of $230,000, while first-time buyers spent about $147,000 on their homes.

About Author: Krista Franks Brock

Krista Franks Brock is a professional writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing sectors since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.
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