Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Newsflash. People Like Buying Newer Homes

To that I say, "DUH!" But what I didn't know was this, (thanks to Realty Times)

"Eighty percent of homes for sale were built before 1980. The median home sold in 2007 was 12 years old. Nearly half of all buyers in 2007 purchased homes less than 10 years old, according to the National Association of Realtors."
So put your thinking caps on and let's have a little math lesson using this information. Here's what we know.

-5 out of every 10 buyers purchased a home that was less than 10 years old (Built after 1997)
-That leaves the other 5 buyers purchasing even older homes.
-Let's reasonably assume another 2 or 3 buyers bought homes that were 10 to 20 years old (Built after 1987).
-This leaves us with 2 or 3 buyers left purchasing even older homes - or built before 1987.
-Of all the homes currently for sale across the nation, 80% were built before 1980.

Given the points stated above and my assumptions which I think are very reasonable, here is what I find very scary - Only 20% to 30% of buyers bought from the 80% pool of homes for sale that were built before 1980.

Reasons why I think this is happening:

-People associate newer homes with being perfect. Translation, "I don't have to spend any money updating my home."
-Newer homes typically have more square footage, larger closets, game rooms, etc.
-Older homes require ongoing maintenance. Unfortunately buyers don't realize new homes require ongoing maintenance as well.
-Older homes need cosmetic updating and today's buyers don't have the money, resources, time or willingness to do the necessary updates required of older homes.

Real estate always has a generational style of home that falls in and out of fashion. Here's my take on today's current available fashions.

-20's, 30's Tudors, Crafstmen, Prairie Style - Tough to cosmetically update due to functionally obsolete floor plans, small kitchens and closet space. Typically require adding on square footage but can pay off when done right.

-Post WWII cottages - Think SW of Inwood & Lovers Ln. Same problems as above but without the striking curb appeal. These are usually good tear down candidates.

-50's & 60's Ranches - Easier to add on to and adjust floor plan to your needs than older Tudors. Curb appeal can be boosted dramatically with exterior paint, plantation shutters, gas lamps and "beefy" landscaping.

-70's & 80's one stories - Not sure how to describe the exterior but picture all of the faux oak (fauk?) paneling in the living areas, dark wood cabinetry in kitchen with semi-ornate moldings, terrazo entry, cultured marble bath counters and it's usually a good bet there is a wet bar with a mirror backsplash hiding behind a cabinet in the maing living room. Think South Plano and areas of Lake Highlands. These homes are becoming more popular to renovate.

-90's & early '00 boxes - Dark red brick around first story with cream siding around the second. White washed cabinets and stair rails, white ceramic tile backsplash with red or green tiles used for accent, forest green marble everywhere, 2 story patio entries. Brass, brass and more brass. Even when updated it's hard to make these homes feel warm and cozy. I'd be scared of those electric bills too. Think Plano, Rockwall, Rowlett, Murphy, Allen, McKinney, Frisco, Carrollton. Many early 90's neighborhoods have gone downhill because no one has the money to update these homes.

-2000's "custom" boxes - Replace 90's formica or ceramic tile counters with granite or Corian; ceramic backsplash with tumbled marble; white or black appliances with stainless steel; brass with "brushed nickel". Pergraniteel. They still look relatively "fresh" and make buyers feel as though they won't have to do any work to it while they live there. False sense of security if you as me.

Did I miss any? I'm sure someone out there wants to put in their 2 cents.


  1. I think people buy new in the suburbs but in the cities buy for the architecture. Certain areas have just outstanding classic moldings like in the South in Charleston and Savanah and these homes are a treasure.

    I just think we didn't build interesting homes prior to the 40's.

  2. It's not always about style of the house.

    We bought in Little Forest Hills in 2000. The neighborhood was the only amenity that mattered to us. The house was almost irrelevant as long as it was in our price range (75k) and structurally sound. We watched for a year until one came on the market and made an offer the day it was posted.

    We love our little cottage in our big yard and we still love the neighborhood.

    And we love our monthly house payment of 425.

  3. Ceemac, first of all good for you for buying in Little Forest Hills for $75K!! I love hearing those stories.

    You bring up an interesting point about not being too picky about the home but more about the neighborhood. I bet there are plenty of people in the M-Streets, Park Cities and other tight nit neighborhoods across the country that would agree with you 100%.

  4. FLH, I agree with your point as well. It makes perfect sense seeing as how city's core is typically going to have your older and more ornate architecture that is mostly cost prohibitive for builders to duplicate today. Especially when the land becomes more and more expensive each year. Which is why new developments end up out in the suburbs where the focus is less about being unique in style and more about how many boxes can we fit onto 40 acres.

    To your comment about our country's architecture not being very interesting prior to the 40's. We all have different tastes (I dispised ranch style homes before I got into real estate) but I bet you would be impressed with some of the tudor and prairie style homes we have here in Dallas. Their interior might be old and the floor plan unusable and tiny but tudor curb appeal can be quite impressive when done right.

    But those poor 70's and 80's homes...I'm not sure what to do with them just yet.