For those who are wondering if the long recession has altered how people look for homes – and if so, in what ways – I have noticed a couple of new trends.
As before, the first stop for most potential buyers is the Long Beach & Lakewood MLS listings. When you compare the language and features most prominent there, huge changes do not leap out. But a comparison with former language does reveal something of a shift in emphasis: many details that highlight opulence (to some, excess) are being replaced by features much more in tune with practicality and efficiency (to some, frugality). You would expect that, since consumer confidence is still less than robust.
The trend to open floor plans is nothing new: fewer walls; more living is an idea many buyers embrace. The more casual “great room” is almost always more desirable to today’s buyer than the formal living and dining rooms of 30 years ago.
As the baby-boomer generation grows older, issues of accessibility and mobility become more important. Long Beach & Lakewood MLS listings that boast easy-access showers, baths, bedrooms and kitchens are highly desired and sought after by buyers in that populous group. Such listings signal a home already equipped for easy access -- meaning no extra dollars will be needed for retrofitting the property. Even for those who have no immediate need for those features, eliminating a future expense (even if it seems a distant concern) can be attractive.
Prominence is growing for features that relate to extra living space. The demographic reasons are clear: in-law apartments or bachelor studios have added value for families whose children may have to move back in with them (the “boomerang” effect). Since such units may be rented for extra income in tough times, they bring an added element of financial security. Large garages fall into this category as well (but no longer for that brand-new Hummer!) Today’s MLS listings featuring an extra large garage are viewed as desirable by Long Beach & Lakewood buyers looking to convert it into extra usable space: man-cave, gym, extra storage, or, increasingly, home office space.
Today’s home buyer seems considerably more environmentally conscious than before; homes that feature solar panels, green toilets or other water-efficient plumbing, and radiant light windows are increasingly desirable. This may be due to a growing social responsibility ... but I’d be willing to bet that reduced utility bills can’t be far behind. As a result, green technology features are working their way up in the MLS listings.
If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Long Beach or Lakewood ... and would like to see for yourself where the latest trends are pointing, just give me a call!
As always, I’m here for all your real estate needs.