2012 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers: Characteristics of Homes

by Reno Manuele


Was location, location, location still the mantra for homebuyers in 2012, or did the characteristics of the homes they purchased suggest a new pattern? We look to NAR’s 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers for some guidance.

By Peter Ricci

Last week in our continuing series on NAR’s 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, we looked at the demographics of 2012’s homebuyers and how they searched for their future homes, and now, in our next entry, we’re looking at the characteristics of the homes that those homebuyers ultimately purchased.

2012 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers: Characteristics of Purchased Homes

“Location, location, location” is one of those everlasting mantras in real estate, and NAR’s 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers suggests that it’s still as true as ever in describing what properties homebuyers ultimately purchase. Indeed, nearly every major factor dealt with location:

  • The quality of the neighborhood was the biggest factor, with 61 percent of surveyed buyers citing it.
  • Forty-three percent cited the home’s convenience with their job, 39 percent referenced the affordability of the property, and 35 percent the convenience to family and friends.
  • The property’s relative location to other factors also rated very highly, with 26 percent citing its vicinity to shopping, 22 percent to schools and 19 percent to entertainment/leisure activities; 26 also cited the quality of schools.
  • Finally, in a very telling stat, 75 percent of homebuyer said that commuting costs factored strongly in their decisions on a home, a number that will only grow with rising fuel costs.

Location, Location, Location – Law of the Land

So, yet again, location was the most important factor in what property 2012’s homebuyers ultimately purchased, and the majority of those homes were located in a suburban/subdivision location – 51 percent were in those locales, compared to 17 percent in an urban area and 12 percent in a rural area.

Brian Guzman, a Coldwell Banker agent in Lakeview, agree that location remains the preeminent issue for homebuyers.

“Location and neighborhood is still paramount,” he said. “Buyers continue to sacrifice their criteria list in order to be in the neighborhood they want. If the neighborhood isn’t exactly what they wanted, the finishes of the condo must exceed their expectations … Buyers want to move in with their toothbrushes and sheets and start enjoying their home right away. They want to be close to work and less than half a mile from public transit.”

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