Tracking homebuyers’ fickle tastes

'Green' features in demand, but amenities tied to HOA fees losing appeal

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Goodbye, subdivision clubhouse. Been nice knowin' ya, whirlpool tub. Au revoir, home theater. Consumers have always been a fickle lot, but the Great Recession seems to have pushed the accelerator pedal on some attitudes about what they want in their future homes and surrounding neighborhoods. That's according to an annual report from Avid Ratings of Madison, Wis., which recently surveyed (in detail) an unusually large sampling of 22,000 North American consumers about their homebuying preferences. Avid is primarily a data gatherer for the homebuilding industry, but company CEO Paul Cardis says this particular study of people who live in homes that were built in the past nine years has broad implications for the general housing market. "They were all newly constructed homes, but some are being rented, some have been flipped or sold," he said. "This data base applies to (attitudes in) both resale and new construction." (Cardis said his company introduced a n...