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Kerry Veach's Blog

By Kerry Veach | Broker in Destin, FL

New Home Builders: Bigger is NOT Better

New home builders in Northwest Florida have heard the demand for homes that are affordable and energy efficient.  Buyers want the affordability of their home to extend far after the keys are handed over at the closing table.  Most would agree that it’s counter-productive to get a bargain deal on the purchase price, and then lose all the money you saved paying for utilities.

Here are three ways that builders are responding to buyers’ demands:

      Go Green to Save Green

By adding features like low-emissivity windows, engineered wood components, low-flow faucets, water-efficient toilets, etc. buyers can save thousands annually on utility bills.  Homes are being built at a better quality to prevent drafty windows and other expensive air leaks.  In addition, recycled materials are used whenever possible to reduce the negative impact on the environment. 

Builders are making energy efficiency practical and attainable by adding these features from the foundation up, saving buyers the expense and headache of having to install them after the fact.  They are also adding features that are easy to maintain, since some energy upgrades (like solar panels) can be too large and pricey a project for the average homeowner.  “Right now, solar panels appear to be a bit too much, but eventually, maybe five years from now, they will be more standard, even in modest house sizes," NAHB economist Stephen Melman says.

Affordability

New home sales dropped from 1.28 million in 2005 to 776,000 in 2007 and 322,000 in 2010.  The record low was just last year at 302,000.  The national median price dropped from $247,900 in 2007 to $210,300 in 2011.  These figures put builders at a stand-still, forcing them to be more competitive and aggressive with both pricing and product.  Their response?  Reduce size to reduce waste and reduce cost.  This leads into point number three…

Less is More

In 1975, the median home size was 1,525 square feet.  In 2007, the median was 2,277 square feet.  It wasn’t until 2010 that this number became smaller – 2,169 square feet.  Real estate professionals believe the reason for this is due to buyers’ awareness of utility costs, maintenance, and housekeeping.  "Buyers today look at a huge, 20-foot vaulted ceiling in the family room and wonder how they can afford to heat the space," Thompson says.  Generally speaking, bigger homes equal bigger bills and a lot more work.

If you have been considering purchasing a new home, don’t begin shopping around without your Northwest Florida Realtor to represent you.  Builders have sales representatives that can assist you throughout the purchase process, but remember that these representatives are working for the builder – not you.  If you would like to buy a home in Northwest Florida, or sell a home in Northwest Florida, contact Kerry Veach online or by calling 1.800.879.0309. With over 1,000 closings, 20+ years of experience  and a full-time real estate team, it’s no surprise that 95% of Kerry’s business comes from referrals.



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