Survey gives insight into what new-home buyers expect

The housing market may be slower, but there still are some buyers out there, and a recent J.D. Power and Associates Survey shows how their desires are changing.

The survey, which ranked home builders based on a number of design and consumer preference elements, included insight into what new-home buyers expect in their new purchases, notably on the “green” side of the market.

The study found that 28 percent of new home buyers perceive that their home is environmentally friendly, but a vast majority of these home buyers -- 75 percent -- say that their home builder did not identify the home as “green.”

The top green features that home buyers believe a new home should include are: energy-efficient heating and air conditioning units, energy-saving appliances, energy-saving lighting and temperature-controlling windows.

Overall satisfaction with new-home design has increased to 782 on a 1,000-point scale in 2008, up 36 points from 2007. Compared with 2007, the importance of the floor plan has increased in 2008. In addition, the flexibility and ability of builders to make non-standard design changes -- such as relocation of an interior wall -- is a particularly important new component in satisfaction with new-home design.

The study also found that 92 percent of home buyers reported receiving sales incentives. Among home buyers who report receiving incentives when purchasing their home, the average sales incentive totaled more than $16,500.

Also, the percentage of home buyers who report that construction on their new home was finished when they signed the sales contract has increased to 39 percent in 2008 from 32 percent in 2007.

Home quality has remained stable since 2007. The rate of customer-reported problems decreased in 2008 to 1,151 problems per 100 homes from 1,345 per 100 homes in 2007.

J.D. Power reported that the proportion of homes delivered both completely finished and on time has increased to 70 percent in 2008 from 58 percent in 2007.

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