Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Ups and downs continue to dominate the housing market. According to recent data from the United States Census Bureau, the average sales price of new single-family homes sold in 2011 was $267,900—a significant decrease from average prices of $272,900 in 2010, $270,900 in 2009, and $292,600 in 2008. Yet even though many people are pinching pennies and looking for more ways to save, the economic downturn has not stopped prospective homebuyers from wanting a larger home equipped with many storage areas and name-brand appliances.
On the Census Bureau’s recently released 2011 Characteristics of New Housing webpage, the nationwide data for new, privately owned residential structures shows that while home prices have gone down, what has gone up in recent years is a home’s average floor area.
“In 2011, the average floor area of homes completed increased 3.7 percent from the previous year,” said Stephen Melman, director of economic services at the National Association of Home Builders.
Census data for 2010 showed the average floor area of a home completed was 2,392 square feet, and last year it was 2,480 square feet. The rise in floor area measurements is not a significant bump, but it is a notable one. Melman said he was surprised to see the increase, remarking that he would have thought that the economic decline would compel buyers to purchase smaller, lower-priced models.
Homebuyers getting organized
Census results also show that buyers are looking for more storage space and for increased opportunities for organization.
“The feature that people most want is a walk-in closet in the master bedroom,” Melman said. “That’s important in family organization.”
Melman added that many dual-income couples want to get dressed and out of the house quickly, so having a walk-in closet would help them live more efficiently.
In addition, Melman said, “Linen closets always rate in the top 10. [They hide] clutter and help organize the household.”
A well thought-out laundry room with good lighting, ventilation, and appliances also is a top characteristic for new housing, noted Melman. Disorganized laundry rooms never bode well for a family’s orderliness.
Additionally, many buyers are looking for larger pantries to help with entertaining and storage. Plus, according to the Census Bureau, 19 percent of new single-family homes sold had a garage that could hold three or more cars—giving owners more options for storage space as well.
Making investments in quality
Buyers also are looking to invest in top-of-the-line, name-brand appliances. “They are looking for value,” Melman said.
However, quality comes at a cost. Buyers are sacrificing other luxuries, including the addition of specialty rooms or outdoor casual living spaces.
“If this were seven years ago, media rooms and outdoor kitchens would be among this list. They were pretty popular in 2003, 2004, 2005. If you need to cut costs, those are the features that you would drop. Those are some things that people can do without,” Melman said. “They are willing to take a grill or firepit instead.”
Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com and at the Home Equity blog for CBS MoneyWatch.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.