Top priority for today’s homebuyers

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Real Estate

Low housing inventory and interest rates are in part driving today’s competitive market, but hopeful buyers are most eager to begin building community.

Over the last year, people have had plenty of time at home to reassess their priorities and goals, including how their living space and surroundings fit into their lives. In its sixth year, Bank of America’s Homebuyer Insights Report uncovered what homebuyers are most looking for today – likely reinforcing what you’ve seen first-hand in working with clients day to day. The survey of 2,000 adults who currently own a home or plan to in the future found that people desire community connections, good neighbors, smart home technology, and more space, inside and out.

Taking a step back to examine the trends among today’s homebuyers can help you help your clients into their dream home.

A desire for vibrant and connected communities
This year saw a meaningful shift in what homebuyers look for in a home beyond its four walls. Familiarize yourself with neighborhood amenities where residents gather because current and prospective homebuyers alike prefer a community where neighbors socialize and share commonalities. Half (51%) of younger buyers – those ages 18 to 43 – and nearly one third (32%) of older generations – ages 57 to 75 – say community has become more important over the past year. Specifically, people want neighbors who share similar interests (73%) and are active in the community (70%).

The feeling of safety is also important when it comes to home surroundings and community. Over two-thirds (68%) of younger prospective homebuyers and three-quarters (75%) of younger homeowners say safety and security have become greater priorities when choosing where they will live.

Must-have home features
Home feature trends are continuously evolving. When sharing listings that will interest your clients, highlight smart home technology features. Many prospective buyers expressed a desire for new technologies in their homes, including smart/Wi-Fi enabled security systems (51%), solar energy products (42%), and smart/Wi-Fi enabled appliances (44%).

Additionally, spending more time at home and using the space for various purposes – work, school, entertainment, exercise and more – has led nearly half (48%) of prospective homebuyers between 18 and 43 to place higher importance on square footage. Another 60% say outdoor space is more important to them now compared to a year ago. The need for more space traditionally meant a move to the suburbs, but now half (48%) want to buy in the suburbs and a growing number (29%) want to buy in rural areas, up from 18% last summer.

Help for renters eager to own
More hopeful buyers are accelerating their homebuying timelines (19%), even compared to last summer (14%). Additionally, nearly half (46%) of prospective buyers between 18 to 43 years old told us that building equity is more important now than it was even a year ago. While most people are eager to swap unpredictable monthly rents with steady monthly mortgage payments, the path to becoming a homeowner isn’t always easy. While many can afford a monthly mortgage payment, saving for the upfront costs of homeownership can be challenging. To address this challenge, Bank of America offers low down payment mortgages AND grants that, when combined, could provide eligible borrowers with up to $17,500 in down payment and closing cost assistance.

The past year has brought about new challenges and perspectives for everyone. By understanding what prospective buyers are prioritizing, you can provide options and information to meet them where they are and inspire them on how homeownership can unlock new ways to enrich their lives.