New home buyers want energy efficiency

New home buyers want energy efficiency  and according to a new survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), builders are listening.   It appears that energy efficient features and closet space were more important to new home buyers than two-story foyers, outdoor kitchens and whirlpools.

 The NAHB  asked builders which features they were most likely to include or not include in newly built 2015 homes. Here are the results.

Least likely features included

  • Outdoor kitchens
  • Laminate countertops in kitchens
  • Outdoor fireplaces
  • Sunrooms
  • Two-story foyers
  • Walking/Jogging trails
  • Whirlpools
  • Carpeting as flooring on main levels

Most likely features included

  • Walk-in closets in master bedrooms
  • Laundry rooms
  • Low-e windows
  • Guest rooms
  • Energy-star rated windows
  • Programmable thermostats
  • Two-car garages
  • Granite countertops in kitchens

I must admit to being a little sad to see that whirlpools didn’t make the cut, but the energy efficient features are a perfect fit for Florida’s year round sunshiny weather. Besides, with the most beautiful gulf beaches just minutes away, who needs a whirlpool?

New home buyers want energy efficiency, but we would love to know what features our readers would consider important and which would you just assume leave out?

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Response To The Trick or Treat Question About The Market…

Well… I was looking for an answer, once that could clearly define when the real recovery is underway in Florida and especially here in Tampa Bay. Did the question in the sand – and no, the answer wasn’t written back. BUT, while reading the St Petersburg Times over the weekend, I got their take on that exact question.

According to the article, there are 5 signs that we want to look for to indicate we are truly on our way back. As realtors, we see the increase in sales and more buyers considering a purchase as a chief indicator. Here are the 5 signs to go along with that observation:

1. Single Digit Unemployment: Nationally, unemployment is expected to peak at 10.5% in 2010. In Florida, unemployment is now at 11% and could go as high as 12%. (However, see prior blog posts on unemployment statistics and rapid rail increase in employment.) These numbers need to be in the single digits and to be truly healthy, we are looking at a goal of less than 6%!

2. Small Businesses Growing: The credit freeze that began over a year ago and brought small businesses to its knees has eased slightly in recent months. “A July survey by the Federal Reserve found that 35% of banks had tightened lending to small firms and 79% of small business owners reported that their credit card lines had been cut significantly. For the Small Business Administration’s fiscal year that just ended Sept. 30, business loans were down 43% in the Tampa Bay area.”

3. Florida’s Housing Pipeline Ramps Up Again: We have that covered and are watching as prices inch back up. This will tie directly in to retirees up north and their ability to sell their homes there in order to relocate to the Tampa Bay area.

4. Banks Stop Bleeding Loan Losses: Essentially, this is referring to the difference between the large financial companies invested in trading stocks and bonds versus more regional and community banks heavily invested in commercial real estate. The recent bank failures are up to 106 nationwide and the tally is expected to grow.

5. Retail Sales Pick Up: For the first time in a year, a small increase in sales has been reported by the International Council of Shopping Centers (a measly .1%). According to the article, store owners are anticipating this holiday season to be the second worst (the worst was last year). In a survey released Thursday, Consumer Reports said 65% of Americans plan to cut back on holiday shopping, travel and entertaining.

So… stay tuned as we include these 5 signs in our following of the market!