Residents of metropolitan Detroit say that when buying an existing home, they are most interested in its potential to appreciate in value, according to a new study from RE/MAX of Southeastern Michigan.

The study asked Oakland, Wayne, Macomb and Monroe County residents in Michigan about the top characteristics they consider when buying a home.

According to the findings, the top 10 characteristics Metro Detroit buyers assess when buying an existing home include: home appreciation potential, property taxes, square footage, roof age, school district, storage space, furnace age, home warranty, location or placement of home within subdivision, and garage size.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median U.S. home price jumped to $206,000 in April 2005, up 15 percent over the past year and 55 percent over the past five years.

“Even if you’re not contemplating buying or selling anytime soon, today’s home values are changing the way we think about the roof over our head,” said Jeanette Schneider, vice president and co-regional director of RE/MAX of Southeastern Michigan. “Real estate is becoming less about longevity and more about value.”

“Past generations thought of their house as an investment, but a passive one,” Schneider added. “Burning the mortgage after 30 years promised a debt-free retirement and a little legacy for the next generation. But now people track their home values almost daily. And thanks to home-equity loans and refinancing, the home is an easily tapped source of cash.”

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to jessica@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 133.

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