The median price respondents expect to pay for their next home is $189,426, which is less than the median price of $198,119 paid by those respondents who bought a home within the last three years. This compares to their current home, which has an average market value of $267,401.
Previous studies have clearly shown that a majority of older homeowners choose to age in place, and the most recent NAHB data echo those desires. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (63 percent) plan to age in their current home, while 12 percent plan to buy another home. The remaining 26 percent are not sure.
John Migliaccio, director of research for MetLife Mature Market Institute, said the biggest disconnect regarding what builders are providing and what buyers are willing to pay for has to do with green building and universal design.
Builders seem to be doing a very good job of including more amenities such as lever-handle door fixtures, wider doors and hallways, and standalone showers and bathtubs, but consumer preferences do not reflect an equal appreciation.
"It continues to be an education process," Migliaccio said. "Buyers simply don’t know what they don’t have."
For example, only 12 percent of respondents said they would pay more for an environmentally friendly home. They are willing to pay an average amount of $6,732 (median $4,000) if it would save $1,000 annually in utility costs. While another 23 percent said they are concerned about the environment, it does not drive their decision to purchase.
Consumers also have some clear preferences for features such as non-slip floors, larger medicine cabinets, lower kitchen cabinets, and emergency call buttons, which many builders see as less important.
The five features rated most important were: washer and dryer in the home/unit; storage space; windows that open easily; master bedroom on the first floor in a two-story home; and easily usable climate control (thermostat).
Conversely, buyers are willing to pay for services such as interior and exterior home repair, transportation, housecleaning, etc., in an attempt to move toward a maintenance-free lifestyle. However, the study revealed that builders are clearly reluctant to move too far from their primary business of construction into community services.
Tom Kelly’s book "Cashing In on a Second Home in Mexico: How to Buy, Rent and Profit from Property South of the Border" was written with Mitch Creekmore, senior vice president of Houston-based Stewart International. The book is available in retail stores, on Amazon.com and on www.tomkelly.com.
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