Fasten your seatbelts, itâ€™s going to be a wild year in real estate! Our chief economist, Jonathan Smoke, has predicted that 2016 willÂ be a true sellerâ€™s market, and itâ€™s already galloping out of the starting gate.
Of course, not allÂ homes are equal, and they donâ€™t sell equally well, either. Most homes are a uniqueÂ mosaic of attractive features (sparklingÂ new granite counters!) and sometimes frustratingÂ flaws (hey, whatâ€™s with the dilapidated porch?). Which part of that equation comes out on top will help determine how quickly your place will move.
But what are the specificÂ featuresÂ that make some homes hotterÂ than anti-Obama posters at a Trump rally? We set out toÂ quantify just how much of a difference the most popular features can make in selling a home, and how certain features can slow the pace to a crawlâ€”to separate out the stainless steel from the popcorn ceilings.
We studied millions of our listing records from the past three months and evaluated them based on two metrics: 1) the number of days each home stays on the market, and 2) the number of page views each listing receives from home shoppers onÂ realtor.comÂ®.
We analyzed the homes that generated the most interest and sold the fastest in relation to their architectural style and various amenities. Granted, itâ€™s impossible to pinpointÂ exactlyÂ why Home A sold faster than Home B (could it really be thoseÂ pink bathrooms?), but when you crunch a whole lot of data, some interesting patterns emerge.
Hereâ€™s what we learned:
1. The Spanish reign supreme
To our surprise, Spanish-style homes, which make up onlyÂ 1 percent of our for-sale listings, are on fire, spending a median of just 47 days on the market,Â halfÂ theÂ national average (93 days). So we did some digging and found that Spanish-style homes are mostly located in Californiaâ€™s coastal cities, where the markets are as blistering asÂ beach sands in August.
After Spanish style, traditional homes draw the most eyesâ€”and buyers. This broad category may sound dull, but not toÂ shrewd home buyers with resale value firmly in mind. They know thatÂ a mainstreamÂ style is likely to appeal to the widest possible swath of buyers.
The opposite side of the spectrum: custom homes, which are soldÂ in 109 days, 17 percent slower than the national median. So are Craftsman homesÂ that emphasize handiwork and natural materials. Theyâ€™re prominent in the Pacific Northwest and in Southern California, and areÂ a tough sell these days, as evidenced by their median 103 days on the market.
Worst still: The 19th-century Victorian style, now mostly found in the Northeast, has fallen from favor in recent decades. TheÂ vibrant, sometimes wacky color combos (often layered on), carved decorative trim, and asymmetrical shapes just donâ€™t seem to appeal to modern buyers. Go figure.
2. City skylines trump soothing waves
On a lazy afternoon, you curl up in the sofa in front of the window, with your KindleÂ and a cup of steaming Earl Grey. Can life get any better?Â Yes!Â Add a breathtakingÂ view in front ofÂ you. Perfect!
Itâ€™s no surprise that a view makes a home moreÂ attractive to buyers. But a view ofÂ what, exactly? Ocean waves, snowy mountains, or just the trees in your own backyard?
It turns out that homes with a view of the urban jungle sell the fastestâ€”at just 83 days on the market. If you guessed that homes with ocean views would be most in demand, well, they sit on the market for 98 days on average. But letâ€™s get real; the median price of $749,000 for an oceanfront home is clearly not for everyone.
3. Stainless steel and granite are here to stay
Want to appeal to buyers weaned on HGTV and Pinterest? The right interior features can speed your way to a closed deal.
Ask home buyersÂ to name their must-haveÂ features, and youâ€™re likely to get a resounding (and headache-inducing) chorus of â€śStainless steel!â€ť Some argue that this mania has peaked, but our data shows itâ€™s here to stayâ€”at leastÂ for the foreseeable future. Homes with stainless-steel appliances sell 15 percent faster than average homes.
At one time (before central heating), a fireplace was the focal point of every home. Now that fireplaces are an optional featureâ€”although they are mentioned in listingsÂ more often than any other featureâ€”their charm among buyers is markedly waning. Homes with a fireplace now sell at the same pace as homes without.
4. Location, loâ€¦
Yes, you know the old saying about the value of location in real estate. And you know why people keep repeating it? Because itâ€™s true! (Also, itâ€™s catchy and easy to remember, much like the Big Mac jingle.) But thereâ€™s more to location than just choosing between, say, Des Moines and Detroit. Once you narrow down the city or town, other things come into focus. Such as: Whatâ€™s the neighborhood? And whatâ€™sÂ in the neighborhood?
From shopping centers to public transportation stations to sports stadiums, we looked at dozens of public facilities that listings mentioned as being nearby. Homes near schools, especially good schools with keywords like â€śtopâ€ť and â€śbest,â€ť jump to the top, with 76 daysÂ on the market and significantly higherÂ views per listing. Also notice the highÂ price tagâ€”$330,000â€”of homesÂ near good schools. Apparently, securing a bright future for your kids outweighs scoring primo season tickets to a local hockey team.
What kind of nearby facility scores last in terms of impacting home values? Hospitals, surprisingly enough. Practical though it may be to be located near a major medical center, those homes arenâ€™t getting much love. They command the lowest prices, receive the fewest views, and stay on the market for the longest.
5. Dream big, buy small
AmericansÂ loveÂ big homes: four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a large family room, a two- (or three!) car garageâ€¦ we could go on and on. Our traffic data showed that the bigger the home, the more page views it receives. A 8,000-square-foot mega home receives about 30 percent more views than a cozy 1,000-square-footer.
Reality check: How many people actuallyÂ end up buying an 8,000-square-foot home? Well, the middle point between fantasy and reality is 1,500 to 2,000 square feet. Homes within this size range are generally snapped upÂ in 86Â days.
6. The price is right
As the nationalÂ homeownership rateÂ hovers near a 50-year low, those whoÂ canÂ afford to buy areÂ making prudent decisions. Lower-priced starter homes are winning most buyersâ€™ hearts. Homes listed at between $200,000 and $250,000 were soldÂ in 83Â daysÂ on average, significantly faster than in any other price range.
And of course the more expensive the home, the fewer buyers can afford it. If you happen to be selling a home priced between $2 million and $5 million, give it 133 days (4.5 months) to land a buyer. Minnesotaâ€™sÂ most expensive home, at $24 million, has been on the market for eight years!
To view the original article on Realtor.comÂ® click here.