January 13, 2017 — The average size of newly built homes decreased in 2016 – a sign that builders are preparing for the coming wave of first-time buyers as Millennials begin to dip their toes into the market. At least that is the conclusion reached by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
In 2015, the typical new home had 2,689 square feet. In 2016, it dropped to 2,634, according to figures supplied by the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s the first drop in size since 2009, said Rose Quint, NAHB assistant vice president for survey research.
“The data on new home characteristics show a pattern,” she said. “2016 marked the end of an era that began in 2009 when homes got bigger and bigger with more amenities. I expect the size of homes to continue to decline as demand increases from first-time buyers.”
Most wanted amenities and features
A separate laundry room tops the list of must-haves across all income groups. Energy-efficient features, like low-E windows, Energy Star-rated appliances, ceiling fans and programmable thermostats are also at the top of buyers’ wish lists. Home buyers also want their homes to have a patio, exterior lighting and a full bath on the main level.
How that might differ for retirement homes
The Census Bureau figures are for all new homes, which includes a lot younger and middle aged buyers. To compare the research with the interests of retirees, we dug out our recent survey data.
The most recent Member survey we conducted, “Walking Trails Dominate“, from 2016 showed that preferences for 55+ living are a bit different than those among all age buyers:
– The top desired amenities are walking trails, fitness centers, and clubhouse/community center. Golf, pickleball, tennis, and shuffleboard are at the bottom of the list.
– Single family homes with one level living are the runaway favorite type of housing
Another survey from 2013, “Buyers Preference Survey“, produced similar results. The number one preference there was for single floor living.
Another Topretirements survey “Members Ready for Adventurous Moves” certifies that downsizing and low maintenance are important attributes among our retirement age audience.
Looking at the Census Bureau results along with those from Topretirements shows some consistent trends among home buyers of all ages. Smaller sizes, first floor living, and single family homes are top preferences.
What are you looking for? Please share the kind of home and features you are looking for in your retirement dream in the Comments section below.