Ask a typical Washington consumer to name the two most important purchases people make, and you’ll almost always hear “new house” and “new car.” They’re often lumped together, but they shouldn’t be. They aren’t all that similar.
The rationale for buying a new car is clear: automotive technology advances nearly every model year, improving fuel economy and safety. Add in that intoxicating new car smell, and the preference is all but automatic. Used cars may be economical, but as for the thrill factor: nyah!
Similarly, when the question is put to a cross-section of typical Americans, new homes get the nod over existing ones. The percentage of those who “strongly” or “somewhat” prefer buying a newly built home weighs in at 41%. That’s a 2-to-1 margin over those who say they favor existing homes.
With such pronounced popularity, you might think it means that Washington new homes should sell twice as rapidly as those previously owned—but that’s not the case. It isn’t just that there’s no intoxicating new house smell. It’s all about the cost factor.
The preference numbers come from the latest survey run by Trulia, which also reported the major reasons given. “Modern features” were cited, along with the “ability to customize the home.” The first reason is perhaps more sensible than the second since the survey’s definition of “new home” included newly-built homes that were fully completed. An existing property can usually be customized (remodeled) as readily as a finished new home.
In any case, the popular leaning toward new homes is tempered in practice when it comes to dollars and cents. Among those who strongly prefer a new home, only 46% are willing to pay for the privilege when it comes to actually writing the check. Since the national average is for new homes to be priced at a 20% premium over existing properties with similar features, that original “strong” preference often takes a backseat to a slightly stronger one—working within the family budget.
Fortunately for those who do become Washington new home owners, the long-term outcome differs from what new car buyers experience. Whereas the joy of driving a new model automobile off the dealer’s lot is tempered by an instantaneous drop in its resale value, nothing similar happens when you take ownership of a new Washington home. The steady rise in housing values over the past five years is pretty solid evidence of that!
Some terrific Washington new and existing homes are out there awaiting new owners. Give me a call whenever you’d like to take a look!