In real estate, it's the eternal question: What do "they" want? "They" are the buyers who tromp through home after home, usually leaving little in the way of concrete feedback about what kinds of features and characteristics they're looking for and how much they'll pay to get them. Well, here may be a few clues, via a recent study by American Lives, a consumer-research firm in Carmel Valley, Calif., that was conducted in collaboration with Builder magazine, a trade journal. In May, American Lives polled 650 people who were touring builders' model homes or who had recently purchased homes in nine markets: California; Nevada; Arizona; Texas; Florida; North Carolina; Virginia-Washington, D.C.; Michigan; and Indiana. Although company president Brooke Warrick said the study obviously focused on the attitudes of those who were shopping for new-construction homes, their survey responses are indicative of the broader market, as 60 percent of them said they ...
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