When it comes to buying homes, most Americans are pretty unexceptional. The most in-demand properties are single-family homes, often in the suburbs, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
That’s according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors that put the median age of homes sold at about 27 years and the median size at 1,900 square feet. The data comes from a 129-question survey filled out by nearly 7,200 people who bought a home between July 2017 and June 2018.
While 86% of the market was existing home sales, it wasn’t necessarily driven by a love of old-fashioned architecture. About 63% of buyers cited either “better price” or “better overall value” as their reason for purchasing an older home. Only 21% attributed their choice to “more charm and character.”
Most of those who bought a new home were seeking to steer clear of unwanted chores. About 38% of new-home buyers said they wanted to “avoid renovations or problems with plumbing or electricity” and 31% cited the “ability to choose and customize design features” – another way of saying they didn’t want to renovate.
When asked about “environmentally friendly features considered very important,” 33% cited heating and cooling costs while 29% cited energy-efficient windows, doors and siding. Only 3% cited installed solar panels.
In the transient world we live in, the median distance between new and old residences stood out: for buyers who were between the ages 28 and 38 it was 10 miles, and for buyers between 39 and 53 it was 11 miles. In other words, families with younger children didn’t want to move too far.
For buyers between 54 to 63, the median distance between homes was 20 miles, and for buyers over the age of 64, it was 30 miles.
Just over half of buyers surveyed, 51%, bought in a suburb while 20% were in small towns and 13% in rural areas, according to the survey. The share of people buying in urban neighborhoods was 14%, up from 13% last year.