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April 2nd, 2014

The top new-home amenities

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11182_house framingIt comes down to:

  • A walk-in closet in the master bedroom
  • Low-e windows
  • A laundry room
  • A great room

Those four amenities topped the list when a national trade group recently asked home builders to name the most popular features in new homes built this year.

The survey, conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), a building trade group in Washington, D.C., suggested that builders are focused on features that offer buyers convenience, livability and energy savings.

Energy-Star-rated appliances, programmable thermostats and Energy-Star-rated windows topped the list as features that can make a house more comfortable and save the homeowner a significant sum over the long term, the NAHB said.

Builders also listed granite countertops, double sinks and a central island in new-home kitchens, a linen closet, and a private toilet in the bathroom as desired features.

“Now is a great time to consider buying a new home,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, “as consumers can take advantage of competitive home prices and low interest rates to find the perfect new home for their families.”

Weather weakens home sales

Separately, the NAHB recently reported that sales of newly built detached houses declined 3.3 percent in February compared with the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 440,000 homes, according to figures released by HUD and the Census Bureau.

“There is no doubt that the persistently bad weather took a toll on sales in February,” Kelly said.

Regionally, sales activity fell 32.4 percent in Northeast, 1.5 percent in the South and 15.9 percent in the West. The Midwest posted a gain of 36.7 percent compared with an unusually low figure in the prior month.

Builders still optimistic

Meanwhile, the inventory of new homes for sale grew to 189,000 units in February, a 5.2-month supply at the then-current sales pace.

“Builders continued to increase their inventory of for-sale homes, indicating they still anticipate a relatively strong spring buying season,” Kelly said.

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said the association still expects 2014 to be “a strong year” for housing.

“The first two-month average of 2014 is exactly in line with where 2013 left off,” Crowe said. “If not for the unusual weather, we would easily be ahead of last year’s pace. We also continue to see household formations and pent-up demand driving sales forward.”

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HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

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Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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