How have buyer preferences changed amid shifting market conditions? That's exactly what a recent survey by Opendoor, an e-commerce platform for residential real estate, aimed to find. The New Construction Home Buyer ‘Splurge or Save’ Survey lists several ares where past and prospective buyers deem most important.
Results from the Splurge or Save Survey
Opendoor's survey consisted of new construction home buyers in the U.S., including those who bought pre-pandemic (two to three years ago), those who bought more recently (within the last year), and prospective buyers. The resulting Splurge or Save? report sheds light on what new construction buyers value most in their homes today.
Choosing a builder: biggest reasons
When it comes to choosing a builder, the report finds that money isn't all that matters.
Both prospective and previous buyers listed "trustworthiness" as the most important factor (around 67%), followed by good reputation (60%), then cost-effectiveness (around 39%). It seems that more buyers in the south value a builder's reputation (71%) compared to buyers in the west (53%, eight points less than the national average of 61%).
However, 66% of those who bought a home in the past year said they did choose a builder based on cost.
Overall, buyers across all age demographics prioritized energy-efficient appliances. Eighty-five percent of buyers spent extra on these appliances, and 84% of those felt that they saved money from doing so. By region, satisfaction with their decision to spend more on energy-efficient features was higher in the northeast (96%) and west (91%), with the south (77%) and midwest (69%) behind.
When it comes to the most desired amenities for the home, energy-efficient features/appliances were deemed "very important." with 83% of respondents prioritizing them as such. An office or work area comes in second at 75%, with landscaping following behind at 73%. These features have become more important compared to those who bought homes two to three years ago. The importance of energy-efficient products (83%) was only 75% a few years ago, and landscaping (73%) is up 12 points (61%) from two to three years ago.
Overall, energy efficient appliances are largely paying off. Investment in energy technology has increased 12% over the past two to three years, and an average of 95% of buyers are happy with their decision to spend more for energy-efficient features.
Almost all (93%) of new construction home buyers who purchased in the past year said they had set a budget—nine percent more than those who bought pre-pandemic. The biggest budget areas? Kitchens and bedrooms were the top priorities for buyers, followed by bathrooms. Prospective buyers indicated they had spent or were planning to spend equally on their kitchen and bedrooms (54% each), and 42% on bathrooms.
Despite budgeting, around one-quarter (28%) of prospective buyers exceeded their budgets, though only half (53%) of them anticipated doing such. Fifty-three percent of respondents also said they would pay more to get their home completed faster. If they could raise their budgets by 20%, prospective homebuyers indicated they would either enhance their home (63% of responses)—with a swimming pool, game room, theater, or wine cellar; choose an alternative floor plan (36%); or pick a new location entirely (25%).
Read the full results of the study here.