As with anything, the profile of the average homebuyer changes over time. Tastes shift, technology influences commuting patterns and neighborhoods gentrify and transform. Today’s new wave of homebuyers – late Gen Xers and millennials – have vastly different tastes from their parents, though millennial tastes line up with those of the baby boomers. We see divisions like this all the time – it’s part of what makes our job interesting.
What does this mean for real estate? Well, the value of homes are shifting with tastes. Some homes that may have been hot ten years ago have cooled a bit, while, for example interest in city/village center living has had a renaissance, and, as such, prices have followed.
We’ve assembled a list of the four things that we’re seeing today’s buyer asking for on Cape Cod!
Location, Location, Location
This one hasn’t changed. Location is still king – and probably always will be. Homebuyers are willing to give up significant amounts of square footage, and will budge on some other amenities, so long as the home has their desired location. Whether this means it’s close to a beach or walking distance from the local Mexican bistro is up to the buyer. Buyers of second homes are looking to stay close to the beach or other area attractions, while first time and millennial buyers want to be closer to town centers.
“Live-In” or “Showcase” Kitchens
Thanks to relatively recent innovations like the Food Network and the internet, home cooking is experiencing a renaissance. People are going back to the kitchen, and the focal point of the home is slowly moving away from the family room to the kitchen island. Even on the lower end of the market, we’re seeing increased demand for granite countertops, stainless steel/modern appliances, and anything but linoleum flooring. Kitchen islands are popping up everywhere – the vast majority of homeowners want one in their kitchen. Even in the $200,000-$300,000 price range, updated or gourmet kitchens are becoming a must-have. They’re expanding in size as well as in features – include a breakfast nook in your kitchen and your home will be ready to sell at any time.
Proximity to Village Centers
Younger homebuyers are looking to stay close to town centers. Thanks in part to increased environmental awareness, coupled with an experience largely growing up in the suburbs, younger homebuyers are looking to stay walking or biking distance from their chosen town’s amenities. Condo complexes like Deer Crossing and a few scattered developments along Route 28 in Falmouth have seen renewed interest from younger homebuyers. Interestingly enough, younger baby boomers are also moving back into town, meaning that the oldest and the youngest buyers on the market are duking it out for a very limited housing stock, especially here on Cape Cod. The result? In areas like Falmouth Village, prices are climbing, and this spring is shaping up to be a seller’s market in these neighborhoods.
Open Floor Plans
You hear it so much on house hunt and renovation shows that it’s become something of a cliche, but it’s a cliche because it’s true. Today’s homebuyers are looking for open floor plans, not cluttered, confused and closed off. We’re finding this to be true in the “heart” of the market, in homes ranging from $350,000 to $1,500,000. There’s a good reason for it down here too – we’re always playing host to hordes of family and friends, and they need space to spread out. Technology has played a huge role in this – gone are the oversized televisions and TV cabinets, in are wall mounts, built-ins and other amenities that maximize floor space. This trend has held on for almost 10 years now, and it shows no signs of slowing.